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Redemption is on Badgers’ minds

first_imgIt may have been adrenaline, or it might have been redemption, but it was apparent that Alando Tucker could play through pain.Tucker, who suffered a nasal injury toward the end of the first half against Wake Forest, sought vindication by scoring 24 points in the second half, the most by any player in that half. Tucker also reached the millennium milestone Tuesday by achieving 1,014 career points.”Honestly, I don’t even remember [how it happened]. It was during the course, and there was a bunch of bodies,” Tucker said of his injury.”It wasn’t Halloween, so I think he was wearing it for a reason,” head coach Bo Ryan said. “It didn’t improve his looks any. I think he is a pretty sharp-looking guy.”Due to his injury, Tucker will sport a protective facemask Saturday when Wisconsin (4-1) hosts Pepperdine (2-1).Tucker started the second half of the Wake game wearing a protective mask, but quickly threw it to the side of the court for its lack of comfort.”[The facemask] is something that takes time to get used to, but I’ve adjusted quickly,” Tucker said. “Once you get going, you can’t tell.”Injury aside, Tucker and the rest of the Badgers will also seek revenge against the Waves after they suffered a 75-61 loss last season.Though the Badgers may have suffered from cross-country jetlag on their journey to Malibu a year ago, they will hold the advantage by hosting the Sunshine State team at the Kohl Center.”It’s always good to play in front of your home base,” Tucker said. “It will be a great opportunity for us to get a lot of confidence, building some things that we can prepare for the Big Ten season.”Along with Tucker’s appearance, the Waves will also sport a new look after losing four of last year’s top scorers. The Pepperdine foursome was also the top-four point-scorers during last year’s match up, accumulating 62 combined points against the Badgers.”Obviously, they are a different team,” Tucker said. “They lost four of their key guys. Their style is going to be the same. They will come in up-tempo, shoot shots and hope to get offensive rebounds. Last year, they outworked us, and we never like to admit we’ve been outworked.””We didn’t play very well last year, so we definitely want to come out and have a better performance against them than we did last year,” sophomore Jason Chappell said.Chappell, who redshirted last season and thus never played in last year’s game, has been on a roll as of late, scoring a career-high 11 points in Tuesday’s game.”It felt good to be out there, especially being where it was, at Wake Forest, where my dad used to play,” he said. “It felt good to be out there and contribute and try to help the team win. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”Chappell also saw the most minutes of his career (24), something he feels will benefit him come Saturday.”Any minutes we get out there means more experience,” Chappell said. “It also helps me feel more comfortable on the court.”Along with Chappell, sophomore Brian Butch had a stellar performance at Wake despite the loss. During the game, Butch recorded a career-high 10 rebounds and put up 19 points. It was the first career double-double for the 6-foot-11 big man. Butch is now third on the team, averaging 15.4 points a game. Tucker leads the team with a 20 point-per-game average, followed by Kammron Taylor, with an 18.4 average.Michael Gerrity leads the Pepperdine team with 17.3 points a game. Pepperdine has been hurting most of the season, winning only one game against UC-Irvine. Pepperdine did have a close run against Connecticut, staying with the powerhouse most of the game. However, the Huskies were able to pick up momentum during the last five minutes of the matchup and ended up defeating the Waves 75-56.”They can play. They proved that last year,” Ryan said. “They have had a little bit of an up and down season, but there were nights when they looked really, really good and nights that the other team looked a little better.”Right now, everyone is trying to find out what their team is all about and what they are going to bring to the table come conference season. We know they can play, and they are not coming here for anything other than trying to get it done for their side, too.”Added sophomore guard Michael Flowers: “We are just going to go out there and try to execute our game play and get the win. We are just going to play Wisconsin basketball.”last_img

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