MADISON, Wis. (AP)—Alando Tucker won the matchup of two of the Big Ten’s best big men.
Tucker scored 29 points and Wisconsin upset No. 24 Indiana 72-54 on Wednesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.
Ray Nixon added 13 for the Badgers (16-7, 6-4), who reasserted their home-court advantage after losing two of their past three at the Kohl Center.
“It feels good,” Tucker said. “Jeez, it’s like lifting some weights up off your back.”
Marco Killingsworth, Indiana’s standout post player, scored 14 points, but fouled out with 8:16 remaining in the game. Asked about his top scorer’s foul trouble, Hoosiers coach Mike Davis said, “I’d better not answer that one.”
Later, Davis seemed to question fouls called against Killingsworth this season.
“I see guys grabbing and pushing him,” Davis said. “He’s got to just maybe run from the play.”
Tucker and Killingsworth came into Wednesday’s game ranked No. 3 and 4 in the Big Ten in scoring, each averaging more than 18 points per game.
Badgers coach Bo Ryan noted that even on an off night, Killingsworth still nearly got a double-double. He had also had eight rebounds.
“He’s a heck of a player, and he really draws a lot of attention,” Ryan said.
Ryan credited Tucker’s inside play with opening up shots for Wisconsin’s perimeter players, but said Tucker’s defense and rebounding still were lacking.
“I’m still looking for that perfect game,” Ryan said. “I’m not trading him, though.”
The Hoosiers (13-7, 5-4) made only nine of their first 32 shots and shot 29.2 percent for the game.
“They did a great job defensively against us,” Davis said. “We shot a poor, poor, poor percentage, (and) they had a lot to do with it.”
Indiana was 3-of-16 from 3-point range.
“They’re one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, so we were fortunate tonight,” Ryan said.
Indiana has lost four of its last five, including Saturday’s loss to No. 1 Connecticut, and has fallen from its No. 9 ranking since forward D.J. White injured his foot in early January.
The Hoosiers have lost all four of their Big Ten road games.
“We’re not very good on the road, and that’s it,” Davis said.
Killingsworth began the second half with missed layups on back-to-back possessions.
The Badgers extended their lead to 16, 45-29, after Killingsworth picked up his fourth foul and the Badgers’ Joe Krabbenhoft completed a three-point play. Tucker’s driving layup extended the lead to 18.
The Hoosiers answered with a 7-0 run, but a putback by Wisconsin’s Michael Flowers made it 49-36. A subsequent foul call on Marshall Strickland brought Hoosiers coach Mike Davis to midcourt during a timeout to argue the call.
Wisconsin had lost three straight and five of its past six going into Wednesday’s game, a streak that began when key reserves Greg Stiemsma and Marcus Landry were ruled academically ineligible, leaving Ryan short-handed.
But another reserve, freshman forward Kevin Gullickson, provided energy on defense Wednesday.
“It’s just a matter of getting more experience and getting some reps,” Ryan said. “I like the way he’s developing.”
And the Badgers got a boost when baby-faced reserve guard Tanner Bronson made a 3-pointer to give Wisconsin a 54-38 lead.
After the game, Ryan told his players he considered giving Bronson a game ball, but wasn’t going to because he missed some free throws.
“They all kind of booed me, because they thought he deserved it,” Ryan said.
Wisconsin got off to a strong start, putting together a 14-2 run to take a 20-6 lead with 9:37 left in the first half.
The Hoosiers answered with a 10-0 run, drawing within four points on two free throws by Killingsworth.
Tucker had three field goals in the final 2:02 of the first half, and Wisconsin took a 31-22 lead into halftime despite Roderick Wilmont’s jump shot at the buzzer.