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Tucker, Butch too much as Wisconsin tops Pittsburgh

Dec 16, 2006 - 9:46 PM MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh knew that it would have to worry about Alando Tucker. Unfortunately, it overlooked Brian Butch.

Tucker scored a season-high 32 points and Butch added a career-high 27 as No. 7 Wisconsin handed the second-ranked Panthers their first loss of the season with an 89-75 victory in the matchup of national heavyweights.

The leading scorer in the Big Ten last season, Tucker was a logical point of emphasis for a Pittsburgh defense that came in holding opponents to 60.0 points and 40 percent shooting.

However, the 6-11 Butch came out more aggressive than he ever had in his collegiate career, eclipsing his previous season high of 18 points before intermission.

"Well you're not supposed to be surprised as a coach, but the thing is Brian is capable at times," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "He is talented enough if he can get those looks, he can get a side step or a left hand jump hook. He works hard and when he gets the opportunity its nice to see him make them."

In all, the duo of Tucker and the junior Butch combined for 40 points while shooting 14-of-18 from the field in the first half as the Badgers (11-1) grabbed a 47-37 lead.

"When two guys have 20 (points) at the half, you are in a tough situation," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said. "We didn't play to leave (Butch) as open a couple of times as he (was), but he made some great shots. We needed to do a better job defensively and we've know that."

Pittsburgh (10-1) tried in vain to close the deficit in the second half, but Kammron Taylor scored all 14 of his points in the second half to uphold Wisconsin's lead.

Not at full strength due to a bout of the flu, Panthers star center Aaron Gray completed a three-point play off an offensive rebound to make it, 65-55, with 12:23 to play.

Taylor answered back with his second 3-pointer about a minute later as the Badgers went on to collect their first win over a second-ranked foe since beating Minnesota on March 8, 1997.

Also improving to 81-5 here in six years under Ryan, Wisconsin grabbed its largest lead of the game, 81-63, on a 3-pointer by Tucker with 5:43 to play.

Tucker, who finished 3-of-5 from the arc, shot 10-of-17 and grabbed 10 rebounds. Butch went 8-of-11 from the floor with two 3-pointers and 11 boards as the Badgers shot 46 percent (25-of-54) and held a 41-31 rebounding advantage.

"Obviously they are a very good rebounding team," Dixon said. "They seemed to get the long ones early and it just kind of seemed to keep going as the game went on."

In a physical contest against two outstanding defensive teams, Wisconsin also held a decided advantage at the free-throw line, converting 31-of-44 (70.5 percent) attempts. Pittsburgh, which committed 28 fouls, reaching the stripe 30 times, making just 19 (63 percent).

"Would you want to officiate that game? There is no way I would," Ryan said. "It was physical. A lot of maneuvering for position and everyone trying to one up on their guy."

Gray had 17 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes and Ronald Ramon scored 16 for Pittsburgh, which surrendered more than 70 points for the first time this season.

"(Gray) looked tired at different times," Dixon said of his ailing 7-footer. "You would have to ask him. He said he felt fine. There looked to be some times where he played well."

Mike Cook scored 14 points, Antonio Graves 11 and Levance Fields 10 for the Panthers, who posted a 73-64 victory at home against the Badgers last December.

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    PITTSBURGH (2) 37 38 75
    WISCONSIN (7) 47 42 89 FINAL

    Dec 16 2:08 PM

    PITTSBURGH (2) 37

    Dec 16 12:49 PM
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    Pittsburgh vs. WisconsinDec 16 12:49 PM
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    Pittsburgh vs. WisconsinDec 16 12:03 PM