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Badgers defend court in Big Ten opener

Jordan Taylor, right, shooting over Trevor Mbakwe, had 22 points as Wisconsin won its eighth straight Big Ten opener.

Associated Press

Jordan Taylor, right, shooting over Trevor Mbakwe, had 22 points as Wisconsin won its eighth straight Big Ten opener.

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor thinks Minnesota has no regret for failing to get him or Jon Leuer even though both played in high school in the greater Minneapolis area.

The Badgers know they wouldn't be the same without both.

Taylor had 22 points and Leuer added 16 to lead Wisconsin to a 68-60 upset of No. 14 Minnesota on Tuesday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

"It's fun to play against Minnesota, I'm not going to lie, but we try to do that against every team," Taylor said. "They've got good guards, they've got good bigs. I don't think they're going to go into their locker room regretting that they don't have me and Jon."

Don't tell that to the Badgers.

"That's what we expect out of him, to be a leader and take care of the ball and make his teammates better, and he does all that night in and night out," Leuer said.

The two stars played key roles in Wisconsin's eighth straight win in a conference opener.

"I reminded the guys we've got 17 more left," Ryan said.

Too bad for them they aren't all at the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin (11-2) is 70-6 against Big Ten opponents under Ryan.

Minnesota (11-2) took the lead on Trevor Mbakwe's dunk with just less than seven minutes left, but Wisconsin answered with two 3-pointers, and Taylor and Leuer hit all seven free throws in the final 1:12 to seal the win.

Mbakwe finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds and Ralph Sampson III had 14 points, including the Gophers' final six, before fouling out.

After Wisconsin went up 59-56, Sampson hit 2 of 4 free throws to cut it to 59-58, but Taylor forced him to switch to him on defense, drove to the basket and converted a three-point play.

NO. 5 SYRACUSE 81, PROVIDENCE 74: Kris Joseph had a career-high 27 points, Scoop Jardine scored 17 of his 21 in the second half and the host Orange (14-0) held on in a Big East opener.

NO. 13 KENTUCKY 91, COPPIN ST. 61: Terrence Jones had 18 points and Brandon Knight added 17 points and eight assists for the host Wildcats (10-2) in their final tuneup before a showdown with Louisville on Friday.

NO. 14 PURDUE 80, MICHIGAN 57: JaJuan Johnson had 22 points, and the visiting Boilermakers (12-1) opened the Big Ten season with an easy victory.

NO. 3 KANSAS: Leading scorer Marcus Morris has lost his starting job after getting kicked out of his previous game. Morris was ejected Dec. 22 at Cal when he threw an elbow at Harper Kamp.

Badgers defend court in Big Ten opener 12/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 11:44pm]
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