Notes: Delivering the Dagger

Tomorrow's headlines will read about junior Jordan Taylor's 27 points and Wisconsin's big second-half comeback, but without sophomore Mike Bruesewitz's late 3-pointer and Josh Gasser's gritty play, the end results would have been different.

MADISON – Jordan Taylor and his 27-point, seven-assist performance will be the big story to come out of Wisconsin's 71-67 defeat of No. 1 Ohio State. He should be, but to overlook the contributions of some lesser-heralded Badgers would be a mistake.

Freshman Josh Gasser scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 36 minutes, and sophomore Mike Bruesewitz scored 12 points in 22 minutes.

Both made key plays in the second half to help seal the win.

Gasser had three rebounds, an assist and a 3-pointer in a seven-minute stretch that saw the Badgers go from down 13 to up five. He also made a critical play to keep the ball alive with just over two minutes left that lead to an offensive rebound and a new shot clock for the Badgers.

"He makes those kind of plays all the time, that you might not see in a box score," Jon Leuer said. "He's just a kid that's hard-nosed and will stick his face on the ball, like Coach Ryan says. He makes those plays consistently. Those are winning plays."

Along with a key play he made earlier in the week against Iowa – diving for a loose ball and calling a timeout – Gasser seems to have gotten past whatever freshman wall he hit earlier this season.

"That's a real positive sign for our team," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "There's a freshman proving he's getting better."

Bruesewitz helped Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) finish off its comeback from 15 points down. Bruesewitz was fouled and sank two free throws with 10:53 left to bring Wisconsin within five points at 42-47. Two minutes later, his offensive rebound and putback tied the game at 49. With seven minutes left, he sank a three-pointer off an assist from Taylor to tie the game at 55. The Badgers wouldn't trail again.

"He stepped up and hit some huge threes down the stretch," Leuer said. "When he does that, it just builds our team's confidence and we can really get rolling."

Arguably Bruesewitz's biggest shot came later. With Wisconsin clinging to a two-point lead with 30 seconds left, Bruesewitz caught a pass from Taylor and found himself wide open at the top of the key.

"I was just kind of like, 'Oh, hell, I guess I'm just going to shoot this and knock this down,'" Bruesewitz said.

His 3-pointer found nothing but net and essentially sealed the game for the Badgers.

"Bruesewitz, that was the guy we were saying, out of the five, let him be the guy that beats us, and he did," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said.

All told, Gasser and Bruesewitz combined to shoot five of five from distance. Combined with Jordan Taylor's five of eight shooting from 3-point range and 3-pointers from Leuer and Keaton Nankivil, UW shot 12 of 24 for the game from long range.

"We saw that happen last Sunday against Michigan State," Matta said. "I don't know what exactly we could have done a whole lot different. We tried everything we had, switching rotations and switching match-ups."

Matta said his team had struggled at times this year against teams that took a lot of three- pointers, but that wasn't necessarily Wisconsin's plan coming into the game.

"Our gameplan was to get layups," Ryan said. "You always start inside and work out. They were hard to get ... If the perimeter shot is open, let's face it, you have to make them."

Notes and quotes

- Ryan mentioned UW Chancellor Biddy Martin was in the locker room after the game challenging players to free throw-shooting contests. No one took her challenge, which Ryan was happy about.

"I didn't want anyone to get embarrassed," Ryan said.

- If you haven't noticed, Taylor looks a little bit like Alfonso Ribiero, aka Carlton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

Ryan claimed that on a recruiting visit to Madison, Taylor did the Carlton dance. Taylor refuted that, but countered by sending a zinger back at his coach.

"He looks like the Grinch," Taylor said.

- Jordan Taylor was trending worldwide on Twitter briefly after the game. He added another assist to his seven in his response to that.

"Ask Brett Valentyn about that," Taylor said. "That's more his thing."

- Wisconsin is the only team in the country to not allow an opponent to score 70 points in a game this year.

- The Badgers have beaten Ohio State nine straight times at the Kohl Center.

Badger Nation Top Stories