No. 18 Badgers Hammer PSU

Wisconsin handled Penn State at the Jordan Center Saturday night, jumping out to an early lead and cruising to a 76-50 victory.

Sharif Chambliss returned to the Jordan Center Saturday night, a much different player than the freewheeling gunner who spent three years at Penn State before transferring to Wisconsin.

This Chambliss was patient. He was efficient. He was methodical. He was unrattled even while being met with a throaty chorus of boos every time he touched the rock.

Chambliss was, in short, the personification of Bo Ryan’s 18th-ranked Badgers, who, four days after seeing their 38-game home winning streak broken by No. 1 Illinois, calmly dispatched Penn State, 76-50.

Wisconsin improved to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, despite playing without leading scorer Alando Tucker (sore foot). The Lions fell to 7-13 and 1-6. Never mind 38-game home winning streaks, this outfit can’t win two in a row at home.

“I think we picked a really, really bad night to play the worst game we’ve played in a long time,” PSU coach Ed DeChellis said. “... We had no answers. They beat us in every fashion. They’re a very good team.”

“Team” being the operative word there. Sophomore guard Kammron Taylor led the way with 20 points, and Clayton Hanson and Mike Wilkinson had 11 each. Chambliss was one of three Badgers to score seven, and his strong all-around game included five rebounds, four assists and a steal.

“It felt weird being in the visiting locker room,” he said. “But all that sentimental stuff went out the door when the ball hit the floor.”

Wisconsin had lost three straight at the BJC, dating back to 1999, but it was clear early that there would be no lingering effects of the losing streak in this one. The Badgers made six of their first seven shots in darting to a 13-8 lead. Up 18-15 midway through the opening half, they smoothly accelerated, rolling off a dozen straight to blow it open for good.

It was all about ball movement for Wisconsin. The Badgers worked it around until Hanson or Chambliss would pop free for a three. When State tried to stop that, Chambliss drove to the hole and kicked to Zach Morley for a jam.

The PSU student section roared out boos every time Chambliss handled the ball. He never blinked.

“I heard it,” he said with a smile. “My teammates were watching me to see how I was going to react. There was no way I was gonna react. We’re even-keel. That’s the way this team is.”

Indeed, Wisconsin had one turnover in the first half (against 11 assists).

PSU was the exact opposite at the other end. Quick shots. Ugly passes. Inconsistent ball movement. Nothing efficient at all. It led to a five-minute scoring drought which, along with UW’s spurt, proved fatal.

“We came out tonight, we weren’t ready to play,” junior forward Travis Parker said. “Seems like we can’t bring the intensity of practice to the game.”

State was down 41-25 at the break and it only got worse from there. The lead hit 20 at the 10-minute mark, 24 at eight minutes and 27 at four minutes. After beating Northwestern at home a week earlier and playing well in a six-point loss at Ohio State Wednesday, this was a giant step back.

“I think our players are upset they didn’t play better, and they should be upset,” DeChellis said. “They didn’t play well.”

Ryan was in a much better mood afterward. Asked about the booing of Chambliss, he laughed and said, “That’s tough love. How can you dislike Sharif Chambliss?”

The person. Or his game.

SHORT SHOTS

ED SAID: “They’re very good. That’s why they’re the 18th-ranked team in the country.”

SUMMERS SIGHTING: Chambliss wasn’t the only Lion transfer in the house. Rob Summers, who left PSU after last season for West Virginia, sat nine rows behind the Penn State bench. No one booed him.

QUOTABLE: “That was a good half.” — Ryan, on the one-turnover, 11-assist first period.

KEY STAT: One turnover in a half is unbelievable.

PERSONNEL: Senior forward Jason McDougald saw some rare quality playing time in the second half, and contributed a monster follow dunk off a Geary Claxton miss.

NOTES: Aaron Johnson led Penn State with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Claxton scored nine of his 12 points in the second half after seeing limited duty in the opening period due to foul trouble. ... UW shot 53.4 percent for the game to PSU’s 35.5. ... Attendance was listed at 9,142. ... The Lions are at Indiana Wednesday for a 6 p.m. tip.

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