Gophers fall to Wisconsin
MINNEAPOLIS -- Alando Tucker had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 21 Wisconsin to a tense 64-62 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night. Brian Butch added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (13-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who led by 19 points...
MINNEAPOLIS -- Alando Tucker had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 21 Wisconsin to a tense 64-62 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Brian Butch added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers (13-2, 3-0 Big Ten), who led by 19 points in the first half and by 14 early in the second before nearly letting the game slip away.
Vincent Grier had 17 points and 11 rebounds and reserve Rico Tucker had 17 points and four steals for Minnesota (9-4, 0-2), which was badly in need of a quality win at home having already lost to Gardner-Webb and Northwestern at Williams Arena.
The Badgers appeared on their way to an easy victory after taking a 25-6 lead over the first 17 minutes, but Minnesota's fullcourt defense gave them fits after that, allowing the Gophers to scratch their way back into the game.
After turning the ball over 15 times combined in their first two conference games, Wisconsin committed a season-high 22 turnovers, leading to 28 Minnesota points.
In a second half filled with runs, the Badgers struck first with a 10-0 spurt that included a four-point play by Minneapolis native Kammron Taylor and an alley-oop dunk by Tucker that gave them a 37-23 lead.
Minnesota responded with an 11-2 run on the strength of hard-nosed fullcourt defense and a 3-pointer by Adam Boone that cut Wisconsin's lead to 42-39.
Four minutes later, another 13-3 spurt by the Gophers gave them their first lead since 3-2, when Maurice Hargrow's dunk made it 48-46 and whipped the home crowd into a frenzy, setting up a back-and-forth final 6 minutes.
Minnesota stretched the lead to 59-56 on a layup by J'Son Stamper, but Tucker responded with two layups in traffic and freshman Joe Krabbenhoft calmly hit two free throws to put the Badgers back in control.
Taylor hit two free throws to give the Badgers a five-point lead with 3 seconds left, making Tucker's 3-pointer at the buzzer purely cosmetic.
Both teams were dreadful offensively in the first half. Wisconsin shot 27 percent, but with the Gophers missing open shot after open shot, even that was enough to take a comfortable lead.
The Gophers made just one of their first 21 field goals and only hit three in the entire first half.
Minnesota scored five points in the first 10 minutes, as senior guards Boone, Grier and Hargrow combined to shoot 1-for-15, allowing Wisconsin to take a 19-point lead.
Hargrow finished with 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting and Grier was 6-of-18.