Plenty of worries. No problems.
The Badgers used a 12-0 first-half run to jump all over host Penn State, cruising to a 76-50 road victory to improve to 14-4 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten.
Sophomore point guard Kammron Taylor replaced Tucker in the starting lineup and scored a game-high 20 points, enjoying another in what has become a series of strong performances on the road.
"He's a fast, quick, good player," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "He played well."
"They all played well," DeChellis said of the Badgers. "They all did what they were supposed to do. I thought Clayton Hanson played great."
Hanson made 4 of 6 shots, including 3 of 4 3-pointers, and frustrated Penn State freshman guard Geary Claxton into a 4 of 11 shooting performance.
Aaron Johnson led Penn State (7-13 overall, 1-6 Big Ten) with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but the junior forward was part of a Nittany Lion front line that struggled with its post defense.
The Badgers had their way offensively, shooting a gaudy 53 percent (31 of 58) from the floor and only turning the ball over six times. In addition to pounding the ball inside, UW made 8 of 18 3-point attempts, including three in a two-minute span in the first half that blew the game wide open.
"There's no room for error with them," DeChellis said. "They're big, strong, and know what they're trying to do."
Redshirt freshman forward Brian Butch gave the Badgers a 15-12 lead with 12:05 left in the first half and Hanson followed with a 3-pointer. Penn State freshman guard Mike Walker matched that triple, but Hanson answered in kind, his second 3 in as many possessions putting UW up 21-15 with 9:23 left in the half.
That kicked off the 12-0 run. Senior forward Zach Morley converted in the paint with an emphatic two-hand dunk 46 seconds later and drew a foul. He missed the free throw, but Wilkinson corralled the offensive rebound and Sharif Chambliss knocked down a 3 to make it 26-15. Chambliss and Taylor added 2s to close out the run, as the Badgers doubled up Penn State 30-15 with 5:41 left in the opening session.
Taylor proceeded to take the game over, scoring seven unanswered points late in the first half to give the Badgers a 41-23 edge. He recorded his fifth double-digit point total of the season Saturday, four of which have come on the road.
"He was quick to penetrate. He did the things that we saw in him a couple years ago," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said, referring to Taylor's play while a senior at Minneapolis North High School. "You just have to take those things and channel them. He is learning things. He can't do it every night but he takes opportunities. He got to places that the other guys couldn't get to."
With Tucker sidelined, Wisconsin received production from unlikely sources. Senior center Andreas Helmigk started for the second time in the past three games and scored six of UW's first 13 points. Butch, who returned after missing a game-and-a-half with a left foot injury, also had six first-half points and finished with seven.
Penn State used a 6-0 run early in the second half to draw within 14 points at 45-31 but could not get any closer, trailing by as many as 29.
Notable: Wisconsin broke a 3-game road losing streak to Penn State; the home team had won the last eight games in the series prior to Saturday…. Taylor is averaging 15.3 points in four Big Ten road games. His career-high 21 points was recorded Jan. 8 at Indiana…. Wisconsin's bench out-scored the Nittany Lions' reserves 21-5….Tucker originally injured his right foot in practice Jan. 9. After missing UW's win over Ohio State Jan. 11, he had played in three consecutive games prior to sitting out Saturday's contest… Zach Morley's seven points off the bench was his most since he scored 22 at Purdue Jan. 5… true freshman center Greg Stiemsma played two minutes in mop-up time and scored a career-high three points.