for this game

Badgers begin Big Ten slate with win over Minnesota

Dec 29, 2010 - 4:28 AM Madison, WI (Sports Network) - Jordan Taylor scored 22 points, and his three- point play with just over one minute remaining created some breathing room, as Wisconsin upended 14th-ranked Minnesota, 68-60, in the conference opener for both teams at the Kohl Center.

Jon Leuer added 16 points and nine rebounds, while Keaton Nankivil added 11 points for Wisconsin (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten), which has won seven straight since a late November loss at Notre Dame.

Devoe Joseph and Ralph Sampson III each scored 14 points for the Golden Gophers (11-2, 0-1), who saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. Blake Hoffarber and Trevor Mbakwe scored 12 and 11 points, respectively, in defeat. Mbakwe also grabbed 11 rebounds, as Minnesota hung close due to a 41-24 rebounding edge.

"I thought it was very hard fought basketball game, certainly a compliment to Wisconsin," said Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith. "They did the things they had to do to win the basketball game."

Tim Jarmusz's three-pointer gave the Badgers a 48-41 lead nearly nine minutes into the second half, but the Golden Gophers used offensive rebounding to trim the margin. Mbakwe's slam capped a 13-5 stretch to push the visitors in front by a point with just under seven minutes remaining, but Wisconsin drained three-pointers on consecutive possessions, the latter opening a 59-56 edge.

Sampson made 1-of-2 free throws with just over 1 1/2 minutes to go, cutting the deficit to 59-58 then Taylor converted on the game's pivotal sequence. He penetrated and came under control on the left block, sold Sampson on a shot fake, leaned in and converted a short bank shot while being fouled. His subsequent free throw opened a 62-58 lead.

"It was a time when the game was really close," Leuer said of Taylor's three- point play. "He drove and I didn't even see him because both of their big guys jumped. I just saw the ball hit off the backboard and it was an add-one."

Sampson made a short jumper with just over 50 seconds remaining, but Wisconsin made its foul shots down the stretch to preserve the victory.

The visiting Golden Gophers jumped to an early 14-9 edge on Hoffarber's three- pointer, but Taylor's mid-range jumper capped seven successive points from the home team moments later for a 21-19 advantage.

Leuer stepped back and buried a three-pointer for a 33-27 lead in the closing seconds, and the Badgers took a four-point edge into the locker room.

Game Notes

Wisconsin has won 10 straight home Big Ten openers...Minnesota won last season's meeting, 68-52, and still holds a 100-89 edge in the all-time series...Wisconsin made 41.2 percent of i