Taylor's 18 points led five Badgers in double figures, and No.
19 Wisconsin beat Northwestern 73-58 on Wednesday night.
In two games as Tucker's replacement, Taylor has scored 38
points and dished out eight assists in back-to-back double-digit
"I like the way Kam's been playing," Badgers coach Bo Ryan
said. "I think he's learning some things. He has the ability to
attack places, to draw help, to knock down open shots. He's getting
Wildcats coach Bill Carmody had been hoping for a letdown after
top-ranked Illinois ended the Badgers' 38-game home winning streak
last week, declaring: "I think they have to realize now that they
are vulnerable at home."
Not this time, not even without Tucker.
The Badgers, coming off a 26-point win at Penn State on
Saturday, their largest margin of victory in a Big Ten road game
since 1944, made this one look just as easy -- primarily because of
Taylor's poised play.
"This kid Taylor, he's terrific," Carmody said. "And he's
been very good lately. He seems to be taking over. That's a big
loss when Tucker isn't playing. It just tells you how good of a
team they are."
Even though they were without Tucker for the second straight
game because of a right foot injury he aggravated in a 75-65 loss
to the Illini last week, the Badgers (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten) never
They jumped out to an 11-2 lead. Back-to-back 3-pointers by
6-foot-11 center Brian Butch (12 points) made it 20-11, and Mike
Wilkinson's three-point play gave the Badgers their first
double-digit lead at 25-15.
After the Wildcats (9-11, 2-6) pulled to 25-21 on Davor
Duvancic's driving basket, the Badgers responded with a 17-5 run to
end the first half with a 42-26 lead, capped by consecutive
3-pointers by Taylor.
The Badgers came out cold in the second half, making just four
field goals over the first 16 minutes and allowing the Wildcats to
stick around with hopes of an upset. T.J. Parker's 3-pointer made
it 57-49 with just more than seven minutes left, but seconds later,
the Wildcats' leading scorer, Vedran Vukusic, fouled out, taking a
seat with nine points, half his average.
Northwestern pulled to 58-51 on Tim Doyle's two free throws with
5:57 remaining but got no closer.
Mohamed Hachad, whose team-best streak of 61 straight starts
came to an end because of poor play, led Northwestern with 14
points off the bench, but Carmody still wasn't impressed.
"He did OK. He gave up a lot of baskets, though," Carmody
said. "It's easy to get a shot when you're down 15 and steal a
ball and stuff (it) at the end of the game. I thought his defense
was bad. He gave up a lot."
Taylor, a sophomore, finally had a good performance for the home
crowd. He had been averaging 12.7 points on the road but just 4.9
at the Kohl Center.
"Man, it felt real good because I've been hearing a lot that I
only know how to play well on the road," he said. "I just wanted
to bring the road to home. Hopefully, this can go on for the rest
of the season -- that I play well both on the road and at home."