Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers bounced by Illini at home

[media-credit name=’YANA PASKOVA/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]taylor_yp_416[/media-credit]"New team, same result."

Those were the words written on the shirt Illinois guard Dee Brown wore as he walked into the media room, with a Cheshire Cat grin. How true those words were, as the Illini once again stuck it to the Badgers.

Illinois outplayed Wisconsin to a 66-51 victory in a repeat of last year's meeting between the two teams in Madison, when Illinois broke Wisconsin's 38- game home winning streak.


"This is big, might be bigger than last year," Brown said, when asked to compare this year's win at the Kohl Center to last year's. "We stole one. We came into their house and got a big win."

The Illini (20-2, 6-2 Big Ten) had four players score in double-figures, with Brown and Rich McBride leading the way with 16 points apiece. However, it was forward Brian Randle who might have had the biggest impact on the game, scoring 12 points and collecting a game-high 13 rebounds, seven of them on the offensive glass, for the first double-double of his career.

"Now we are not just Dee, 'The D Team,'" Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said, referencing the popular eighties television series. "We've got a lot of players."

For Wisconsin (15-6, 5-3), junior forward Alando Tucker once again led the way with 19 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward Brian Butch added 10 points and nine boards, while junior Kammron Taylor chipped in 14.

In what has been uncharacteristic of Wisconsin during this rough stretch, the Badgers came out firing early and took the lead, eventually building it to 11. However, UW was like Cinderella on this night, as once the clock struck 10, the team went from being the belles of the ball to little more than pumpkins.

Leading 24-13 with just under 10 minutes to play, the Illini switched to a three-guard lineup and went on a game-changing 19-0 run, quickly turning the 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead. They went into the half up six.

"We went small," Weber said. "So I think our kids picked up the defensive pressure. We got some transition, we got some rebounding and [Wisconsin] started doubting a little bit and that was the big key to it."

"They were quicker," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said of the run. "They maybe make you extend [your defense] a little more and you don't hit your shots, and then doubt starts to creep in."

The second half was more of the same story, as Wisconsin started the half off strong and made it a two-point game, 44-42 on a Tucker jumper in the lane.

However, the clock struck 10 minutes again and Illinois went on a 12-4 run, silencing the Kohl Center faithful, who soon headed for the turnstiles. Wisconsin never got closer than nine the rest of the game.

"We worked our way back into the game and we were feeling pretty confident at the time," Taylor said of the Illini's second-half run. "But to see them knock shots down and we come down and miss shots, you start to think about it."

"When a team is making run, you have to respond," Tucker said. "We didn't respond well."

The Badgers were beaten soundly on the glass as well, as Illinois out-rebounded UW 43-28 and 15-6 on offensive boards.

"They're good on the glass, they've been good all year," Ryan said. "We needed to be better."

Long rebounds in particular again killed Wisconsin, in a repeat of the Michigan game last Saturday. Several times, the team gave up long offensive rebounds to the Illini,

"There were some long rebounds," Ryan said. "There were a couple there at the end when we cut it to six or eight and had a chance to get a rebound, but there were long rebounds that got touched, tipped, and boom, that counts as an offensive rebound."

Illinois has now won four straight over Wisconsin and the Badgers, once looking like the class of the conference at 4-0, have now fallen out of first place in the Big Ten for the first time this season after losing four of their last five games, including two of the last three in the capital city.

The Badgers have struggled to find the right chemistry on offense since losing forward Greg Stiemsma and Marcus Landry for the season, as after Tucker, Taylor and Butch, no other player scored more than three points.

"Man, it's tough, but we have other guys," Tucker said. "I look at it as an opportunity, if I was a guy that wasn't getting as many minutes, I would look at as an opportunity to showcase what I have. So get Kevin Gullikson and Joe Krabbenhoft, we're expecting production with those guys, [as much] as we were getting with Marcus and Greg. It's tough, though."

"I think I did a good job of finding guys for shots [when double-teamed]. It just seemed like they weren't falling."

The Badgers also turned the ball over 14 times, which Illinois translated into 24 points, 13 more than Wisconsin managed off of takeaways. With the rebounding margin also working against UW, it became simply too much to overcome.

"We out-toughed them, I guess," Weber said.

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