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February 12, 2011

Taylor spectacular in upset win

MADISON - Bo Ryan was never concerned when his team fell behind by 15 points to the nation's undisputed No. 1 ranked and undefeated team early in the second half.

All it took was a quick gaze at the mindset and body language of his players.

"I check eyes," Ryan said. "I'm an eye guy with players. I watch players when they come up to the practice court, I watch players when they come over for timeouts and I watch players when they come over to huddles. They were a little disappointed. To do what they did and to have those kinds of legs and lungs to get that lead down and to take the lead ourselves.

"I don't know what else you can say about these guys other than how tough they are."

Having Jordan Taylor, who scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half, most of which came during a decisive 30-8 UW run after falling behind by 15 early in the second period helps.

With that type of performance, you can find plenty of reason to relish in the fact that UW knocked of the top team in the country yet again with a 71-67 win. How does that sound?

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Taylor said.

Ohio State, at least for the first 27 minutes of the game, looked every bit the part of the No. 1 team in the land. They were extending UW offensively and effectively forcing the Badgers into tough shots around the perimeter. There simply wasn't much going for the Badgers.

But then something clicked for Taylor.

The energetic and rowdy crowd of 17,230 were witness to something truly special as Taylor proved how wrong anybody that failed to place him among the final 10 for the Cousy Award really were.

The junior guard was nothing short of spectacular during a UW run that eventually helped the Badgers turn a 15-point deficit to a seven-point advantage (30-8 run).

He scored 10 of the teams 15 points during a blistering 15-0 run to tie it at 47. During the ensuing 15-8 run that helped the Badgers eventually record a stunning victory, Taylor scored another eight points, with his only miss during the entire 30-8 run coming at the free throw line.

His back-to-back 3-pointers started the rally and got the crowd back into it.

"He just did everything," Ryan said. "Ohio State was answering for a while after we chipped into their lead. But we got the separation, played with the lead and finished it off. But what Jordan Taylor did there….If people don't take that and frame it. What he did right there, I don't think there are too many players in the country that have ever done. Not just this year but at any time against the No. 1 team in the country."

One can actually point out how Taylor accounted for 26 of his teams 30 points during that deciding run late in the game. His 18 individual points, in addition to his three assists that led to eight more, emphatically set the tone for his dominance.

He is simply the best guard in the Big Ten. And it doesn't even seem to be close.

"I thought he should have definitely been on the Cousy list," Jon Leuer, who chipped in 12 points and six rebounds, said. "I had heard about that and almost thought it was a joke. He's the best point guard in the Big Ten and maybe the best point guard in the nation.

"He deserves all the recognition he gets."

Taylor wouldn't go as far to accept all the accolades for one of the bigger wins in Kohl Center history, though. It's just not his style.

Instead, Taylor wanted to focus on the way a Ryan Evans' jumper after falling behind by 15 spearheaded the run.

And he wanted to talk about Mike Bruesewitz's clutch three with his team up two points with just less than 30 seconds to play that effectively served as UW's dagger into the side of Ohio State's undefeated run.

While Saturday's game was essentially all about one player willing his team to victory while carrying his team on his back, the overarching feeling coming from the post game press conference, at least from Taylor's point of view, was how he couldn't have done it alone.

"We obviously knew we were down, but coach kept pushing us and was trying to have us stay aggressive, stay positive and stay tough," Taylor, who also dished seven helpers to only one turnover, said. "They made a run and we knew we had a run in us. It was just trying to stick with what we do. Eventually we started getting stops and started making plays.

"Everybody made a big play, not one person didn't."

GAME NOTES:

-UW kept it's home winning streak alive. That mark is set at 17 for the time being. The Badgers are 14-0 at home this season, winning by an average of 19.2 points per game.

-Wisconsin overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat Ohio State. It's the sixth time in school history where the Badgers have come back from a deficit of at least 15 points and he 40th time in school history that the team has overcome a double-digit second half deficit.

-With the win, UW has now beaten Ohio State nine straight times in the Kohl Center. Wisconsin has yet to lose to the Buckeyes inside the building with Bo Ryan at the helm.

-The win over the AP No. 1 ranked team marked UW's second-such victory in school history. The last came against No. 1 Ohio State in 1962.

-The win also marks the eighth time since 1969-70 that a school has beaten the No. 1 ranked football team and No. 1 ranked basketball team in the same season. The last time it happened was in 2006-07 when Florida did the same to Ohio State.

-UW still hasn't allowed an opponent to score 70 points this season, the only team nationally to do so.

-With seven assists to one turnover, Taylor now has 17 assists to two turnovers in five career games against Ohio State.

-Josh Gasser's three 3-pointers set a career high.

QUOTABLE:

Thad Matta on UW's decisive run:

"You come on the road and you shoot 54 percent, you shoot 88 percent from the free throw line, you out-rebound your opponents and you've only got seven turnovers you feel pretty good. They had to play, for that stretch, damn near perfect to get us. They did. And they deserve the credit for that."


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