"You know Coach Ryan, he doesn't talk about his accolades," Badgers senior guard Kammron Taylor said. "I'm pretty sure nobody on the team even knew that, but it's a good thing to be a part of history and he deserves it."
From tip-off, the Badgers came out firing, looking to erase the disappointing loss to Missouri State the day before.
"A lot of guys weren't prepared for what Missouri State was going to do," UW senior forward Alando Tucker said. "We adjusted in the second-half, but it was a little too late so we knew what we had to do [Saturday] against Auburn."
Wisconsin jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but then Auburn guard DeWayne Reed broke the Tigers' silence with a breakaway dunk off of a Marcus Landry turnover, the first of several Badger turnovers in the first half.
Auburn took advantage of 11 Wisconsin turnovers to pull back within the original 10-point deficit, going into half-time down 35-25.
Turnovers were a different story in the second half, however.
Wisconsin committed only one second half turnover in the second half and put Auburn away. Wisconsin's Tucker took over once again, scoring 11 second half points.
Tucker made a highlight reel breakaway reverse dunk with three minutes remaining in the game to put it away.But it was the play of Taylor that made the difference Saturday.
Taylor scored a team-high 16 points and his play at the point guard position was much better than in the loss to Missouri State.
"That's the Kam that he has to bring out every time that we step out on the court," Tucker said. "He has to be that confident with the ball and with his shot. When we get that from him, these are the results that we get – we get wins."
"My teammates did a great job of picking me up because I know and they know that I didn't play well [Friday]," Taylor said. "The reason I played well was because of my teammates."
With foul after foul, Auburn made the game very physical, but didn't help itself one bit, putting just about everyone in its seven man rotation in foul trouble.Both Frank Tolbert and Archie Miaway fouled out for the Tigers.
"It's tough when a team like that is going to pressure you that hard for 40 minutes," Tucker said. "But that's where we have to stay strong ourselves and just counter that with getting to the line and things that we did."
With plenty of bonus free throws available, Wisconsin was aggressive in going to the basket.
"Coach Ryan was telling us [Auburn's] guards and players like to get out and pressure the ball," Taylor said. "The only way to beat that is to attack it.
"As a team, I think we made real good decisions with the ball," Taylor added.
With 15 points and four assists Saturday and 26 points and six rebounds Friday, Tucker earned South Padre Island Invitational All-Tournament team accolades. Oklahoma State beat Missouri State 73-70 in the championship game to win the tournament. Cowboys guard Mario Boggan was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.