MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Now that Alando Tucker is the second player in Wisconsin history to score 2,000 points, he figures he has plenty of chances to top Michael Finley’s school record of 2,147.
Tucker had 21 points and seven rebounds Saturday, leading the fourth-ranked Badgers past Iowa 74-62.
Tucker reached the 2,000-point mark with his first basket of the game. He said when he looks at his chances to become Wisconsin’s leading scorer, he includes a potential run to the Final Four.
“This team is special to me,” Tucker said. “I think we all realize that. Just for me to be able to achieve that this year among this group of players, my teammates, it’s very special to me.”
While Tucker led the offensive charge for Wisconsin (24-2, 10-1 Big Ten), the Badgers were again able to hold Adam Haluska and Tyler Smith of Iowa (14-11, 6-5) in check. In last month’s 57-46 loss at home to the Badgers, Haluska and Smith shot 6-of-35 from the field. On Saturday, they were only marginally better at 10-of-33.
Haluska led Iowa with 16 points, while Smith scored eight, about half his season average. Smith also dislocated his finger in the first half and fouled out with 50 seconds left in the game.
Iowa led 35-31 at halftime after shooting 47 percent from the field. But the Hawkeyes shot less than 37 percent in the second half and didn’t hit a 3-pointer in the final period.
“I don’t think it’s just Adam and Tyler,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said. “It’s everyone. You’re 24-2 and 10-1, and you’re giving everybody fits.”
Iowa took a 50-49 lead when Smith converted a three-point play with 12:21 left. But Wisconsin followed with an 11-1 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers by Kammron Taylor and five points from center Brian Butch, including a 3.
Iowa couldn’t get closer than five points the rest of the way. Marcus Landry hit a 3-pointer from the corner at the 2-minute mark, putting the game out of reach.
Butch finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Taylor added 11 points. The Badgers shot 8-of-17 from behind the 3-point arc compared to 3-of-13 for Iowa. The Badgers also outrebounded Iowa 42-33.
With five conference games left and at least one game in the Big Ten tournament, Tucker might not need a Final Four run to score the 128 points he needs to overtake Finley.
Either way, there’s one thing Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan doesn’t expect out of Tucker – a bad shot. Ryan said Tucker doesn’t try to force things to rack up points and hasn’t gotten into the habit of jacking up shots for his bottom line.
Ryan said most of the time when it seems as though Tucker is taking a tough shot, it’s because he thinks he’s drawing a foul. And most of the time, Ryan said, he’s right.
“He scores in ways from 10 feet and in that I haven’t seen too many guys do, and yet he can score from other places,” Ryan said. “He’s earned everything that’s coming his way, and he’s not done yet.”