The frustration didn't linger into overtime, though. It didn't
even last past halfcourt. That's the way Bo Ryan coaches them to
think on defense.
Taylor scored 27 points for his first college win in his home
state, and Wisconsin gutted out a 68-61 victory over the
Gophers on Thursday night.
"We did a good job of sticking together and finding a way to
claw one out," Taylor said.
The Badgers (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) failed to score over the last
7½-plus minutes of the second half while the Gophers (17-8, 5-7)
dug out of a 13-point hole. But that dogged Wisconsin defense came
back in the overtime even though the Badgers' shooting touch and
offensive movement didn't.
"Our guys didn't let that bother them down at the defensive
end. They didn't get out of what we were doing," Ryan said.
Ryan Evans had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, which
went 15 for 17 from the free throw line in overtime.
"Anytime you can win on the road against a tough opponent it's
always fun. I haven't won here, so I'd be lying to you if I said I
didn't enjoy that a little bit," said Taylor, who had only one
other 20-point game this season.
The preseason All-America hasn't been as productive or dominant
as he was as a junior. Even his free throw shooting is down by 10
percent. This was one of those signature games, though, for the
After going 4 for 4 from 3-point range in the first half, he hit
another one early in the second to push Wisconsin's lead to 37-26.
About 5 minutes later he started a fast break, determined to finish
it, he wove back and forth around the Gophers before flipping the
ball in for a nifty layup and a three-point play to make it 45-33.
When he drew the foul and landed on the court, he sat up and
struck one of those it's-my-night poses by folding his arms across
his chest and staring confidently at his teammates.
"We had no answer for him, and that was the difference in the
game, I thought," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said.
The Badgers made only one basket over the last 9½ minutes of the
second half, a putback by Jared Berggren -- one of three Minnesotans
in Wisconsin's starting lineup -- with 7:43 remaining. Wisconsin has
not lost in 19 games this season when leading or tied with 5
Williams and Hollins sandwiched baskets around an offensive foul
on Taylor. Hollins beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer to bring
the Gophers within two, and Austin Hollins tied the game with 1:02
left on two free throws to send a deafening roar through the arena.
Berggren's 3-pointer from the corner clanked off the side of the
rim, setting up the final possession. Andre Hollins had the first
chance at the winner out of the timeout, and he was upset at
himself for his shot selection.
With Taylor in his face, he took a one-handed leaner from the
top of the key after a crossover dribble that Taylor said he
expected after watching some of Minnesota's past games. Hollins
said he should have used the step-back jumper, his pet move.
"That's going to haunt me for a while," he said.
Austin Hollins grabbed the rebound along the baseline and tried
a shot from the corner that bounced off the rim, sending the game
to the extra period.
The Gophers couldn't crack that dogged Wisconsin defense,
averaging a nation-best 49.8 points entering the game.
"I don't think it was a matter of us being tired or not. We
just didn't execute in those situations. We were kind of sloppy,"
Wisconsin is 209-18 under Ryan and 16-1 this season when leading
at halftime, and they took a 32-24 edge to the locker room. But the
Badgers went just 2 for 12 from 3-point range after halftime and
had to hang on to bounce back from their loss last week to Ohio
Wisconsin has the conference's best regular-season road record
since Ryan was hired in 2001. The Badgers are 8-2 away from the
Kohl Center this season.
"Nine minutes to go, up 13, the game's over. That's what
everyone else is thinking, but we're not thinking that. They made a
solid comeback," Evans said.