Tucker Takes Milwaukee

In a battle of two of the top players in the country, it's Wisconsin's Alando Tucker that out-shines Marquette's Dominic James, leading the Badgers with 28 points and a resounding win in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE - Alando Tucker has and continues to accomplish a lot over his five seasons on the Wisconsin basketball team. The one thing he was missing, however, was the ability to walk away from the Bradley Center with a victory.

Now, he can check that off his "To Do List."

"The win is always the thing that I'll remember," Tucker said. "It doesn't matter about the points to me. I don't sit very well going home on the bus after a loss."

Alando Tucker seemingly could do no wrong on Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee, dropping a game-high 28 points on the Golden Eagles to help the Badgers oust their arch-rivals on the Al Maguire court, beating Marquette 70-66.

With just under two minutes to go and Marquette cutting the Badger lead to four, Tucker showed why many people have considered him the best player in the Big Ten, taking over Wisconsin's offense on back-to-back possessions. More importantly, Wisconsin did not rush, taking time off the shot and game clock while waiting for the opportunity to strike. The end result was two driving lay-ups by Tucker, who shot a staggering 11-for-20 from the floor.

Whether he was driving to left, cutting to the right or shooting from the wing, Tucker made the basket look big and the Golden Eagles look bewildered.

"I just took what the defense was giving me," Tucker said. "If they were giving me the opportunity to drive right, I am going to do that. If they're giving me the opportunity to drive left, I can do that too. I was playing to win and towards the end of the game, you either had to foul me or I was going to score."

After Tucker's second drive put Wisconsin up seven with one minute to go, the boisterous Marquette crowd was suddenly silent and the cheers of Badger fans scattered throughout the arena could easily be deciphered.

"Marquette wanted us to get into an up and down game with them and that's how the crowd stays into the game," Tucker said. "If you can slow the game down and get to the free throw line, the crowd has to stay silent. That's one of things you have to do when you come into an environment like this; stick to your game plan and dictate how the other team is going to play."

Most of Tucker's, along with most of Wisconsin's, points came in the paint, as the Badgers scored 62.9 percent of their points from the lane. While the lack of height on the Golden Eagles could have played a factor, Marquette struggled without their big man Ousmane Barro in the lineup, as he was whistled for his fourth foul just minutes into the second half.

"We didn't do a very good job guarding the dribble, and that's unfortunate," Marquette head coach Tom Crean said. "It's hard to guard [Tucker]. We did a good job guarding the post on him, but he really hurt us on his drives."

Wisconsin had to work for all their opportunities early on, as the pace of play was driven by the Golden Eagles. While the pace was quick and intensity was high, the basketball being played was sloppy from both teams.

The Badgers committed a plethora of turnovers early on, becoming victim to multiple traveling and offensive foul calls. On the evening, Wisconsin committed 22 turnovers, very uncharacteristic for a Bo Ryan coached team.

"Sometimes when you get into these situations and no matter how you prepare yourself, you just need to get up and down the court four or five times," Ryan said. "You get that out of your system and you're ready to go."

"Early, we got a little anxious with some turnovers because we were moving too fast," Tucker said. "We settled down because coaches kept pounding it in our heads to keep our composure and play how we know how to play."

The same could be said about Marquette, who struggle mightily to knock down the outside jumper throughout the contest. Marquette connected on only 11 shots in the first half and was 1-for-9 shooting from three-point range.

"We did not execute well enough on either end of the floor," Crean said. "We didn't make shots and they made a ton of shots. It was a very competitive game, no doubt about that."

Marquette's star sophomore Dominic James also was held in check by the Badgers, especially by guard Michael Flowers. Flowers played the role of James' shadow all afternoon and it was evident that Flowers presence bothered James, who scored only two points on 1-for-8 shooting.

"A lot of the credit has to go to Mike Flowers, because he's probably our best defensive player," senior Kammron Taylor said. "He did a great job of not making James not get comfortable. Our team was helping whenever James drove the lane. It was a team effort trying to stop not only James, but their other perimeter players."

With the victory, Wisconsin moved to 16-2 under Bo Ryan against in-state teams, including winning their last six in-state contests. Nevertheless, the victory proved that the Badgers, who had lost eight of their last 10 road games, can win a tight, tough game away from the Kohl Center.

"We played a ranked opponent that is a great team," Tucker said. "You have to tip your hat to Marquette because they played a great game, but so did we. It showed that Wisconsin is maturing as a program to come in here, fight through adversity and not buckle."

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