IOWA CITY, Iowa — Jordan Taylor never hit a bigger shot in his young career than the buzzer-beating 24-footer he drilled to send Wednesday’s game into overtime.
In fact, Taylor hadn’t even connected from beyond the arc in 11 previous tries as a Badger. Nonetheless, with Wisconsin trailing 60-57 and a mere 3.1 seconds remaining in regulation, Taylor took the inbounds pass from forward Tim Jarmusz near midcourt, dribbled in and drained a 3-point bomb to keep the Badgers’ hopes alive.
“I figured they were going to be hounding [Jason Bohannon] because of what he can do shooting the ball,” Taylor said. “I got open, I saw them switch, and I thought I could try to make a play.”
The shot hit by Taylor was eerily similar to Lawrence Westbrook’s three for Minnesota to send Wisconsin’s last game into overtime at the Kohl Center. Westbrook’s three tied that game at 62 and gave the Gophers enough momentum to come away with the victory in the extra period.
Unfortunately for the Badgers, however, Taylor’s shot did not produce a similar effect, as the Hawkeyes came out firing in overtime, hitting every shot they attempted from the floor, including a pair of threes to secure the victory.
“We didn’t come out in overtime as strong as we’d like to,” Taylor said. “People are going to remember the shot, but I gave up five points [in overtime]. Hopefully, we can go back to practice tomorrow and bounce back and get ready for Illinois.”
The 3-point basket at the end of regulation provided a bit of redemption for Taylor after a hard block by Iowa’s Aaron Fuller with 2:56 remaining prevented UW from extending its lead to four points. Taylor went up for a layup on the play only to have it blocked from behind and fall hard to the court.
“It doesn’t really matter what I think, I’m not the ref,” Taylor said of whether he was fouled on the play. “I’ve got to finish that play. That’s a big momentum swing; if I finish that play we go up four.”
In addition to sending the game into overtime, Taylor played well down the stretch for the Badgers in a game that wasn’t one of Trevon Hughes’ best. Although Hughes scored 10 points in just 25 minutes for Wisconsin, he struggled with the ball, turning it over three times while failing to add an assist.
Taylor played 20 minutes for UW, tallying a career-high 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting, including 2-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“No turnovers,” head coach Bo Ryan said of Taylor’s play. “The last 10 minutes he was on the floor, we did not turn the ball over.”
Despite scoring just two points prior to hitting the long range 3-pointer, the 6-foot-1 freshman asserted himself as the Badgers’ go-to player in overtime, scoring five more points, including another big shot from beyond the arc to cut Iowa’s lead to three points with 42 seconds remaining in the period.
“That’s the job, point guard is kind of like the quarterback on the floor,” Taylor said. “I just do what I can to try and get people to where they’re supposed to go and try to get things organized.”
Although he may not have been the first or even second option on the final play of regulation, Taylor didn’t panic when Leuer’s pass came his way.
“We work on that play all the time,” Taylor said. “It’s really whoever is open gets the ball and makes the play and in that situation I happened to be the one to get the ball.”
Taylor — like many watching the play — was not, however, sure the shot would go in.
“Coach stresses in practice to make sure we get a shot off to make sure we give ourselves a chance,” Taylor said. “I was trying to get the ball at the rim — it felt good and luckily it dropped.”