No Tuck? No problem: Badgers roll over Wolverines

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first_imgJEFF SCORFHEIDE/Herald PhotoFor the first time any Wisconsin player could remember, fans were doing the wave in the Kohl Center, an act usually reserved for Camp Randall Stadium. It was the most exciting point in a slow and protracted second half, as No. 2 Wisconsin throttled Michigan 71-58 Wednesday night, becoming the first team in the nation to reach 20 wins.”It’s the first time I’ve ever seen it (the wave) at a basketball game,” said senior forward Alando Tucker. “The crowd had to do something to keep warm.”The Badgers (20-1, 6-0 Big Ten) probably could’ve used a playing of “Jump Around,” too, during a pair of lengthy stoppages of play and a bevy of free throws.”The only time I got concerned was when [sophomore Marcus Landry], by the time he got to shoot his one-and-one — did you see the icicles?” joked Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who was forced to send his players out to run the floor during the second delay to keep them loose.The win also extended UW’s winning streak to 16-games, the longest in the nation. Wisconsin spotted Michigan (16-5, 4-2 Big Ten) nine points right off the bat, forcing the Badgers to burn a timeout less than two minutes into the game. Eventually, the offense awoke and evened the score at nine apiece, with a quick run, sparked by Michigan turnovers.”We got out to a great start,” Wolverine head coach Tommy Amaker said. “As you saw, though, we didn’t take care of the ball. … It’s no question that we had silly turnovers.”Michigan finished with 19 turnovers. Senior center Courtney Sims, who also led the Wolverines with 16 points, was responsible for seven of them.The turning point of the game came just before the second media timeout, when Tucker picked up two fouls in 18 seconds, earning him a seat next to Bo Ryan for the remainder of the half. At the time, UW was trailing 11-9.However, rather than giving Michigan a boost, the Badgers responded by outscoring Big Blue 24-15 in the final 11:58 of the half, entering the locker room with a 33-26 advantage.”That just shows how deep our team is,” junior forward Brian Butch said, echoing the Amaker’s sentiments.”That just shows you how good they are as well,” Amaker said. “Certainly you would like to think that we could do better than what we did, but they are deep. They are talented [even] without Tucker.”Tucker returned strong in the second half, finishing with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, tying Butch for the team-high in scoring.The second half seemed to last an eternity. It was slowed by the two lengthy stoppages of play and Michigan fouls. Any chance of a Wolverine comeback was smothered by the team’s inability to avoid whistles, as Wisconsin found themselves in the double bonus with an astounding nine minutes remaining.”They were extremely aggressive, and you’ve got to get fouled — you’ve got to get to the line when people are overly aggressive,” Ryan said.Michigan’s Brent Petway punctuated earning his fifth foul and an early trip to the showers by picking up a technical for showing up the referee. This led to a prolonged discussion among the officials and the opposing coaches about who was fouled and whether Wisconsin had earned the one-and-one bonus.”It’s tough,” Tucker said of Petway’s reaction and the ensuing delay. “You have to stay stable.”Minutes later the game saw another drawn-out delay, as Michigan guard Jerret Smith was floored by a Marcus Landry screen in the backcourt, conjuring up memories of Taylor’s blackout at Ann Arbor a year ago from a hard Grahme Brown pick.”I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s ironic’,” Tucker said. “It’s one of those things when you’re trying to relieve your point guard. … That guy should be jumping his teammates’ case because you have to be able to let your teammates know if a screen is coming.”The Badgers will enjoy a day off tomorrow before traveling to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes (11-9, 3-3 Big Ten), but not before making a stop in Platteville to watch Bo Ryan have the UW-Platteville court named after him.last_img

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