Tucker returns to starting lineup

Sophomore forward guts out 26 minutes on injured right foot

MADISON – Alando Tucker returned to the Badgers' starting lineup Sunday and scored eight points while grabbing six rebounds in 26 minutes.

Far from 100 percent, Tucker's right foot injury plagued him throughout the contest. He was removed from action with less than three minutes left in the second half on the advice of Wisconsin's trainer, head coach Bo Ryan said.

As much as he was able to bring to the floor, Tucker's injury, which kept him from practicing in more than a limited capacity since Jan. 9, restricted his explosiveness and ability to elevate, which proved to be a liability for the Badgers defensively and on the glass.

On a few occasions Tucker was able to use a quick first step to get to the basket but he limped often during the game, particularly after skying for a rebound at the end of the first half.

Aside from a spurt to start the second half where Tucker scored UW's first five points, he never really got involved offensively. Tucker still made an impact, however, with his presence on the floor.

"Whenever he was in there that took a lot of attention off the rest of us," sophomore guard Kammron Taylor said. "Michigan State was probably focused on Alando when he was in the game. That took a lot of pressure off the rest of us. He didn't play as much as he's used to but he helped us out a lot."

With Tucker struggling, the rest of the Badgers were called upon to step up and by the end, they were more than effective.

"Tonight, we grew up in a hurry," senior forward Mike Wilkinson said. "It just shows you we're slowly getting better and coming together as a team and that's what we need to have this season be successful."

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