UW Health Sports Medicine 

Lucas at Large: Do you remember when?

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Do you remember when ...

UW coach Bo Ryan instructed his two best scorers, Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson, to anticipate a missed shot, an offensive rebound, and a put-back to win a Big Ten game?

It happened on March 1, 2005 at the Kohl Center.

The opponent was the Indiana Hoosiers, who will be here Thursday night.

Tucker_Alando_IND_0506_2.jpgGoing into the game, the Badgers and the Hoosiers were tied for third place in the conference standings. Both were looking to enhance their NCAA resume and seeding.

The UW players were running on empty - physically and emotionally - despite coming off a 64-56 victory at Ohio State. Tucker and Wilkinson combined for 33 points and 16 rebounds to spoil the festivities for the Buckeyes who retired John Havlicek's number (No. 5) at halftime.

The Indiana game was Wisconsin's third in six days - a challenging Thursday-Sunday-Tuesday stretch that also included a 77-64 loss at Michigan State. The fatigue started to show in the second half against the Hoosiers who rallied from a 10-point deficit behind the strong play of freshman D.J. White.

With 9:35 left in the game, a Sharif Chambliss jumper pushed the Badgers into a 53-43 lead. But they opened the door for an IU comeback by missing their next 10 shots from the field and compounded their frustration from the free throw line, where they were 7-for-14 over the final 7:15.

Indiana's Roderick Wilmont rebounded Bracey Wright's missed shot and scored on a put-back to pull the Hoosiers into a 60-60 tie. Ryan called a timeout with 10.1 seconds remaining. What was said? Ryan told Tucker that he was going to rebound a miss and score the game-winner.

"He actually did say that,'' Tucker later confirmed. "He (Ryan) told me, 'If there's a missed shot, I want you to attack the glass hard.' I guess it played out the way he wanted.''

Not quite. Coming out of the timeout, Tucker launched a 3-point shot that came up short. Following Ryan's advice about anticipating a miss, Wilkinson got the offensive rebound. But he was nearly pinned under the rim and sandwiched by a couple of defenders. That led to an awkward shot.

Now it was Tucker's turn to anticipate.

"I saw they were trying to force Mike more toward the baseline and out of bounds,'' Tucker said. "I was looking to see which side he was going to try to put it up and with which hand. I actually saw him release it and I was like, 'Ok, this is coming out (funny), so I'm going to go up and get it.''

Tucker got it and scored the game-winner with two-tenths of a second left.

Wisconsin 62, Indiana 60.

"Sometimes I wonder if he (Ryan) drew it up like that,'' Tucker said. "I wonder if he knew it was going to happen like that. He's been doing this for a long time and he called it.''

In a perfect world, Ryan would have preferred if Tucker would have attacked the rim instead of settling for an early 3-pointer. But he wasn't complaining, especially after foreshadowing the sequence.

"That's the only time all night that anybody ever listened to me,'' Ryan said of his instructions to anticipate the missed shot. "I told the guys afterward at least someone listened to me one time.''

The timing couldn't have been better for a UW team that finished with an 11-5 Big Ten record despite the early departure of Devin Harris who skipped his final year to enter the NBA. The Badgers continued to overachieve in the postseason by advancing to the Elite Eight in the 2005 NCAA tourney.

Ryan was understandably proud of the accomplishments. "I thought our guys have done a very good job hiding weaknesses,'' he said, "covering up for one another and helping each other out.''

Since that dramatic two-point win over the Hoosiers, the Badgers have won the last four home games against Indiana by an average of 21 points, the closest margin of victory being 13 points.

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