Lucas at Large: Do you remember when...

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Do you remember when a mop-topped Zach Morley - the precursor to a mop-topped Mike Bruesewitz - felt like he could have "kicked" the basketball and "it would have had a chance to go in" during a rare win at Purdue?

Rare was an understatement.

On Feb. 15, 1972, the Badgers manhandled the Boilermakers, 84-65, in West Lafayette, Ind. The offense revolved around Leon Howard and the Hughes twins, Kim and Kerry. Lee Oler and Bob Frasor were the guards.

The Hughes were in the sophomore class, along with Gary Anderson and Lamont Weaver. Little did they know at the time how challenging it would be to win another game in Mackey Arena; a challenge that spanned generations.

In 1972, Richard Nixon was in the White House.

In 2005, Ray Nixon was in the UW rotation.

Purdue's dominance over Wisconsin at Mackey Arena amounted to 33 painful years. Between 1972 and 2005, the Badgers lost 29 straight times to the Boilermakers. The UW finally broke the ice - take that literally - on Jan. 5 of '05.

A nasty ice storm slowed traffic to a crawl on a Wednesday night in West Lafayette. The official attendance was 7,925. But there were far fewer people in Mackey despite the school offering free tickets to the Big Ten opener.

The Badgers fell behind 16-9 before regrouping on the strength of their 3-point shooting. Good thing because they couldn't shoot a lick inside the arc. They missed their first 11 attempts from that distance and were 2-15 in the first half.

"If you lose your composure in a game like that, you get buried," said UW coach Bo Ryan. "So I like the other option."

In this case, it was the 3-pointer. The Badgers made eight of 10 in the first half and their first six triples came from six different players: Sharif Chambliss, Nixon, Brian Butch, Morley, Alando Tucker and Mike Wilkinson.

Defensively, the Boilermakers were doubling Wilkinson and Tucker in the post and that left plenty of space on the floor for the 3-point gunners - like Morley, who scored 17 of his career-high 22 points in the second half.

Morley finished with six triples (6-of-8) in the 77-68 win. "It was one of those nights where I felt like I could have kicked it and it would have had a chance to go in," Morley said. "Every time it came off my hand it felt good."

Overall, the Badgers knocked down 14-of-22 shots from beyond the arc, outscoring the Boilers, 42-3, in triples. "We can't stop people," lamented Purdue coach Gene Keady who was completing his 25th and final season on the bench.

Purdue had a big edge in the paint, 42-14. Carl Landry was hampered by foul trouble but still scored 23 points. Dave Teague added 20. "But you have to learn how to win," Keady bristled. "And we don't know how to win."

The Badgers were giddy to leave with any kind of a win.

"It's going to be nice to walk up those steps to get on a bus and hold your head up just a little higher," Ryan said after ending the UW's long losing streak.

Added Tucker, "We had to dig deep and find out who had the heart and guts to battle with these guys. We hung in there."

Until it started raining 3s.

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I remember it well!!
That was the evening I called "Zak Attack at the Mac." Thanks for writing and sharing your article.
Shelley