The Division III Vikings kept the game close for most of the first half, trailing the Badgers by only seven points with three minutes remaining until intermission.
"I thought for the most part we matched their intensity, maybe even had a little bit more," Lawrence forward Chris Braier said. "For about 25 minutes we played with them."
"All they had to do is hit some 3s early and they'd be beating us," UW head coach Bo Ryan said.
Ryan credited Tucker for enlivening the Badgers to help put Lawrence away.
"[Tucker] did a great job. He works hard," Ryan said. "He did some things defensively where he got some deflections or steals. He energized our guys defensively."
Tucker finished the night with game-high 25 points, six rebounds, an assist and a steal in 29 minutes of play.
Thirty seconds before halftime, the Badgers led by a mere 10 points. Then Tucker stole the ball from Lawrence guard Kevin Bradley and ran the court for a layup to give the Badgers a 30-18 lead at the half.
The Badgers finished the first half 5-of-11 from the free throw line while committing eight turnovers and grabbing just two offensive boards.
Four of those turnovers came in the first five minutes of the game and they went into the locker room with merely four more rebounds than the considerably smaller Vikings.
The Badgers' lead was only 15 points after the first five minutes of the second half, but they were too quick and too big for the Vikings to hold on for the entire game. The Badgers quickly mounted a 25-point lead, 55-30, and continued to pound on the Vikings until the very end.
Ryan's three big men, sophomore Brian Butch, junior Jason Chappell and sophomore Greg Stiemsma together gave the Badgers 27 points, shooting a combined 13-of-14. "I'd like to take advantage of post play every night," Ryan said. "Shooting three feet away from the basket is better than shooting 20 feet away."
The Badgers scored 54 points in the paint.
Point guard Kammron Taylor, who led the team with six assists against just two turnovers, said he is starting to feel more comfortable in his position.
Ryan also received some strong performances from freshmen Joe Krabbenhoft and Marcus Landry, who together played 32 minutes. Landry had two high-flying dunks and a block, adding to the young Badger forward's above-the-rim highlight collection from the exhibition season. Krabbenhoft was pure hustle as he led the team with seven rebounds and had three assists.
By the end of the night, their slow start was erased from the scorecard as the Badgers out-rebounded Lawrence 40 to 23, shot a remarkable 23-of-30 from the field in the second half and walked away looking forward to its first Division I opponent of the year, Norfolk State on Friday in the Virgin Islands.