for this game

Wisconsin's Tucker takes over down stretch at Northwestern

Jan 14, 2007 - 12:08 AM EVANSTON, Illinois (Ticker) -- Alando Tucker displayed senior leadership down the stretch.

Tucker scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as fourth-ranked Wisconsin edged Northwestern, 56-50, in a Big Ten Conference contest.

Fellow senior Kammron Taylor produced 11 of his 12 points after the break for the Badgers (17-1, 3-0 Big Ten), who have the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games after No. 14 Clemson lost at Maryland.

The Badgers are off to their best start since beginning their 1915-16 campaign at 20-1.

Wisconsin trailed, 42-41, before Tucker made a jumper with 7:16 remaining to spark a 9-2 run. The 6-6 forward capped the burst, during which he had seven points, with a layup for a 50-44 advantage with 3:01 to play.

"In the first half, Alando was a step behind on his reads of open areas, cuts, and short corners," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "He finally figured out separation and gaps. Those are things you can talk about, but until the defense gets out there and does what they do, it's a chess match and you have to be ready to counter."

Northwestern (10-7, 0-4) pulled within 52-50 on a 3-pointer by Jeff Ryan with 51 seconds left but Taylor countered with two free throws with 19 seconds left and the Wildcats were unable to score in the waning seconds.

Filling in for injured leading scorer Kevin Coble (ankle sprain), Ryan, a freshman, scored a season-high 18 points to pace the Wildcats, who have lost 11 of the past 14 meetings.

It was Northwestern's fourth straight defeat since a four-game winning streak late last month.

"Going into the game we hadn't played very well lately," Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said. "That was the focus, not so much on Wisconsin, but more about us to see if we could, not necessarily play up to potential, but get better. I thought we did that this afternoon."

The Wildcats may be without Coble when they visit No. 5 Ohio State on Wednesday.

"It didn't seem like that bad a sprain," Carmody said of Coble. "He was having a hard time cutting, though. I am not optimistic that he will be available on Wednesday."

Northwestern converted 15 Wisconsin turnovers into 28 points. The Badgers mustered just six points off nine Wildcat giveaways.

"We have been dealing with matchup zones and other types of defenses, but right here, Northwestern does that as well as anybody," Ryan said. "But you have to be patient and go through the rough spots.

"Last year we got into the same situation, but we did not respond the same way. We are a year older and guys figured a few things out. Our experience paid off."