Taylor, Tucker power Wisconsin routNov 13, 2006 - 1:47 AM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Wisconsin wasted no time in delivering its best one-two punch.
Senior Kammron Taylor scored 22 points and classmate Alando Tucker added 21 as the No. 9 Badgers coasted to a 72-48 victory over Mercer in the season opener for both teams.
With 10 of its top 11 players returning from a year ago, the Badgers have everything in place to contend for Big Ten and NCAA tournament titles.
Two of the biggest reasons are sharpshooting guard Taylor and star forward Tucker.
Taylor, a 6-2 guard, scored 18 of his 22 points in the opening half, burying all three 3-pointers in helping the Badgers to a 39-25 lead at the break.
The 6-6 Tucker, who averaged 19 points last season, picked up the slack in the second half, scoring 16 of his 21 on 8-of-11 shooting, showing why he was named the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year.
Wisconsin improved to 82-27 all-time in season openers and had too much firepower for Mercer, which was 9-19 last season and lost its top three scorers.
While the Badgers shot 43 percent (27-of-63), it was mainly because of Taylor and Tucker. They combined to make 18-of-29 shots while the rest of the team was 9-of-34.
The struggles of the rest of the squad carried over to the free throw line, where Wisconsin made just 12-of-27 foul shots.
Hrvoje Pervan scored 10 points and Sam Dolan and Montavious Waters added nine apiece for Mercer, which shot 34 percent (19-of-56) and committed 22 turnovers.
The Badgers improved to 35-3 in non-conference games under coach Bo Ryan.
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