Wisconsin takes advantage of FSU turnovers

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan thought Alando Tucker might be tentative after he was poked so hard in the right eye that he was left bleeding.

Tucker didn't waste any time putting Ryan at ease.

The Badgers' leading scorer hit a 3-pointer as soon as he got back on the floor en route to 22 points, including 18 after the poke, and Wisconsin (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) beat Florida State 81-66 on Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

"I was surprised he took it," Ryan said of the attempt. "I thought he'd at least get used to the lights after he got back in, but that was huge."

Tucker, who briefly sported a patch in the locker room after the game, was not available for comment. But the shot energized the Badgers (6-1), who turned a three-point lead into an 11-point halftime advantage as Florida State (4-2) kept making crucial mistakes.

"The 14 turnovers we had in the first half dug us a hole for ourselves and made it very difficult to get out of," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Wisconsin being the type of team that they are took advantage of most of them."

Kammron Taylor scored 18 points and Brian Butch added 13 for the battered Badgers.

Toney Douglas scored 24 points, Jason Rich 12 and Al Thornton 10 for Florida State.

The Seminoles, who averaged 17 turnovers coming into the game, equaled their season average with 16:42 left and finished with 21. The Badgers only had eight steals, meaning Florida State had 13 unforced errors.

"Any team is going to be good if we come out having 21 turnovers and eight assists, no matter who we play," Douglas said. "We beat ourselves."

The Badgers steadily pulled away and took their largest lead at 55-35 off a 3-pointer by Joe Krabbenhoft with 11:03 to play. Wisconsin went 15-of-26 from the field after halftime.

"We were patient, that's why we shot almost 60 percent (in the second half)," Ryan said. "We got good shots."

Douglas and Thornton worked to keep the Seminoles close, but Thornton began cramping in the second half and picked up his fourth foul a few minutes later. Hamilton said that Thornton needed IV fluids after the game but that the cramps weren't serious.

"He was not really as explosive and as active as he normally has been," Hamilton said.

Florida State used a full-court press but never got closer than 12 down the stretch.

Tucker, the preseason Big Ten player of the year, was poked in the eye by Douglas midway through the first half. He crumpled at the baseline but returned from the locker room about four minutes later in the game.

"I think the trainer told him to 'Go out there as soon as you get it, take a long shot and see how your vision is," Ryan deadpanned.

The poke seemed the only way to stop Tucker early.

First, he completed an alley-oop from Michael Flowers, who later sprained his right ankle, then he took a sharp bounce pass from Greg Steimsma for a baseline slam.

"He goes out there and plays hard every day, every game, no matter what," Taylor said of Tucker. "He takes a little nick in the first half, but he comes back and he goes to work after that. That just shows his toughness."

Wisconsin opened the game with nine straight points, but didn't have its first double-digit advantage until Butch tipped in Tucker's desperation shot at the buzzer to give the Badgers a 34-23 lead at the half.

But Florida State couldn't do much right, either.

In the midst of a brutal three-game stretch that included an 88-66 loss at No. 2 Pittsburgh and ends Sunday hosting No. 4 Florida, the Seminoles started against the Badgers by missing their first three shots and committing four straight turnovers. Florida State finally scored more than five minutes in, but it didn't get much better after that.

"It wasn't the pressure, it was poor decisions by our kids," Hamilton said. "They're the kind of turnovers we can correct, but we haven't corrected them in the first six games and we're going to have to make sure we get those corrected because our schedule doesn't get any easier."