MILWAUKEE — Jordan Taylor hasn’t quite been the consistent scoring threat he was expected to be for No. 14 Wisconsin early in the season.
That won’t stop him from taking the big shot.
With the Badgers trying to fend off a furious second-half surge from in-state rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday night, Taylor drilled a 3-pointer with about 40 seconds left to help Wisconsin hold on for a 60-54 victory.
"That last one, I felt like I got a little bit of room," Taylor said. "Just tried to step in and knock it down."
Jared Berggren scored 17 points and Ryan Evans had a career-high 16 for the Badgers, who have won three straight to recover from consecutive losses earlier in the season.
While Taylor wasn’t happy with his offensive play early in the game — he scored 14 points but shot 5 of 14 from the field — teammates still look to him with the game on the line.
"To tell you the truth, I knew it was going in," Evans said. "The look in his eyes, when you know he’s going to hit a shot, he had that look. I started running back the other way. I didn’t go for the rebound because I knew it was going in. Him down the stretch, he’s big time."
Tony Meier scored 15 points, playing a key role in a second-half comeback for Wisconsin-Milwaukee (8-3).
Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter noted that his undersized team did a good job standing up to the Badgers. Milwaukee outrebounded Wisconsin 34-32 and had a 30-20 edge on points in the paint.
"You’d think you could win that game," Jeter said. "But it came down to kids making a couple tough shots."
Leading 31-20 at halftime, the Badgers pushed their lead to 44-27 on a three-point play by Evans with 15:17 left.
"We could have crumbled, become impatient and forced a few things," Jeter said. "But we battled back."
The Panthers went on a 16-1 run that included two 3-pointers, an inside score and a three-point play by Meier, cutting Wisconsin’s lead to 45-43 with 9:27 remaining.
Meier said Jeter "kind of called me out" at halftime, demanding better play.
"In a nice way," Jeter said jokingly.AROUND THE NATION
NO. 17 BULLDOGS PREVAIL – At Starkville, Miss., Dee Bost scored 22 points and Rodney Hood 19 as Mississippi State (10-1) survived a late scare to down Florida Atlantic, 75-68. The Bulldogs had a 39-29 lead at halftime, but the Owls (4-6) clawed their way back into the game, taking a 55-54 lead on Pablo Bertone’s 3-pointer with 9:22 remaining.
COWBOYS WIN EIGHTH IN ROW – At Laramie, Wyo., JayDee Luster’s 18 points led Wyoming over UC Irvine 58-48, the eighth win in a row for the Cowboys. Luke Martinez added 13 points and four steals for Wyoming (10-1), which has matched its entire victory total of each of the last two seasons. UCI dropped to 2-7.