UW Health Sports Medicine 

Do you remember when... Tucker saves day in win over OSU

Do you remember when the UW's all-time leading scorer Alando Tucker saved a game with his defense - not his offense - against the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus?

In the 2003 Big Ten opener, the Badgers had been victimized by Michigan's Daniel Horton who drove the lane and scored the game-winning basket for the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

That 66-65 loss didn't sit well with Tucker who felt like he could have done more to prevent that shot. Little did he know that he would get a chance at redemption just 10 days later at Ohio State.

Not that it looked like the Badgers would need any late game heroics after they erased a 27-22 halftime deficit by knocking down 11 of 17 shots to forge a 50-39 lead with 5:18 remaining.

But the 'Ghosts of Daniel Horton Past' began to take shape again. In that earlier road loss at Michigan, the Badgers had squandered a 15-point lead which opened the door for Horton's kill shot.

Taking a page from that script, the Buckeyes came roaring back and nosed ahead, 52-51, on a Velimir Radinovic field goal with 37 seconds left. UW coach Bo Ryan called a timeout.

Kirk Penney, a senior, was Ryan's choice to take the shot.

At Michigan, the honors went to sophomore Devin Harris, who had his shot blocked by Horton.

"Devin made it look like it was possibly going to him," Ryan said of his strategy. "It's not that we don't trust Devin. But Kirk was playing with more confidence and we liked the matchup."

Penney was matched against Ohio State guard Sean Connolly.

"If you're a player in that situation, it's something you just relish," said Penney, who scored over Connolly to give the Badgers a 53-52 lead with 7.4 seconds to play. "You love to be in that position."

The Buckeyes inbounded to Brent Darby who pushed the ball up the floor and attacked the rim. Mike Wilkinson was in position to make sure that Darby would not get a good look at the basket.

Lurking in the background was Tucker. Without hesitation, Tucker rotated across the lane and swatted away Darby's shot at the buzzer.  And the Badgers escaped with a dramatic victory.

"Once I saw his eyes looking at the rim," Tucker said of Darby, "I was going to try and climb the ladder and go up and get it. I saw the ball floating - it was like it was moving in slow motion."

Tucker and Penney made eye contact and hugged.

"We both sighed," Tucker said. "The horn goes off and you look at the scoreboard and we're up by one. You have to win games like this to be successful in the Big Ten."

When Ryan was asked if his players had to overcome any flashback to their blown lead and crushing loss at Michigan, he said, "They didn't become disbelievers. They just kept believing."