In the first half of their 72-43 win over Penn State Wednesday night, the Badgers substituted early and often, rolling their top seven players liberally. At halftime, point guard Kammron Taylor led the team with 18 minutes, following by forward Alando Tucker (17), center Jason Chappell (16), reserve guard Michael Flowers (15), forward Brian Butch (14), guard Ray Nixon (10) and reserve forward Joe Krabbenhoft (10).
With a 30-point lead in hand, the Badgers began to clear their bench with 4:13 left in the game. But prior to that UW only diverted from its seven-man rotation once, giving freshman walk-on forward Kevin Gullikson two minutes midway through the second half.
From a minutes standpoint, the biggest beneficiaries of UW's shift to a seven-man rotation, from what was at times a 10-man rotation prior to this month, have been Flowers and Krabbenhoft, who combined for 50 minutes Wednesday. Flowers' 10 points against PSU were two shy of his career high and he tied a career high with five assists.
"With a short rotation everybody's got to be on their cue and you can't go deep into the bench like we used to early in the season," Flowers said. "We just (have) to go out there and produce every time we step out on the court."
Badgers' length flusters Cornley, PSU
Penn State forward Jamelle Cornley generally plays much bigger than his 6-foot-5 stature. Wednesday, though, he struggled immensely against Wisconsin's much taller post players. He was held to six points on 2 of 7 shooting, 10 points below his conference scoring average.
The Badgers opened the game with 6-foot-10 center Jason Chappell on Cornley, and the UW junior did a good job keeping Cornley from getting comfortable in the paint. In the first half, Cornley had two points and was 0-for-2 from the field in 16 minutes.
"In this league it's really hard to have a freshman come every night, night-in and night-out and give us what he's given us," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "He's done a great job. This is the first game he's had where he really was kind of off target a little bit and really never got in a flow.
"When you rely on a freshman to score the way we rely on him, it's tough. It's tough on him."
6-5 senior forward Travis Parker, PSU's third-leading scorer (10.8 points per game in league play prior to Wednesday), was held to two points on 1 of 8 shooting. He had 6-11 forward Brian Butch guarding him to start the game.
As a team the Nittany Lions shot 33 percent (18 of 54). PSU's 43 points were the fewest the Badgers had held a Big Ten team to since a 73-42 win over Michigan on Feb. 26, 2003.
"I thought it was a very good defensive effort," UW coach Bo Ryan said. "I thought our guys did extremely well in their positioning and what they did."
Taylor searching for shot, sets up teammates
Kammron Taylor followed up his 6-for-24 shooting performance in the Badgers' 62-55 loss to North Dakota State with a less-than-sparkling 4 of 15 night against Penn State. Taylor had hit just 2 of 11 before making consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half.
But with his shot still not falling, Taylor helped out in other ways in his game-high 35 minutes on the court. He tied a season high with six assists and did not commit a turnover in a game for the first time all season.
"Kam had six assists, no turnovers," Ryan said. "That's a good sign."