"Jordan Taylor was unbelievable today," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. "That's one of the great performances I've seen."
It was the junior guard's takeover of Sunday's Big Ten Conference battle that allowed the No. 19 Wisconsin men's basketball team to make sure Michigan State never got going. His career-high 30 points carried the Badgers to an 82-56 throttling of the Spartans and gave the Badgers their 16th-consecutive win at the Kohl Center.
The victory also kept Wisconsin staked to second place in the conference standings.
The Badgers (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten) jumped out early and never let off the gas, posting their largest margin of victory over Michigan State (13-10, 5-6) since a 25-point triumph in 1994.
Badgers post largest margin of victory over MSU since 1994
Wisconsin wins 16th-straight home game
Taylor made a habit of deflating the Spartans by draining tough shots late in the shot clock. He shot 69 percent from the floor and finished 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
"I have confidence in my teammates, and I think they have confidence in me," Taylor said. "It might not look like the greatest shot if you're forced into taking it with the shot clock down, but you just have to have confidence that it's going to go in."
He also contributed to a Kohl Center-record performance at the free throw line for UW by going 9-for-10 at the stripe. As a team, the Badgers hit an astonishing 25 of 26 charity tosses -- a 96.2-percent clip.
"Jordan Taylor, I think he played like one of the best guards in the country, not just the Big Ten today," Izzo said. "His strength, his demeanor, I was very, very impressed."
Taylor also dished out six assists to help senior Jon Leuer contribute 20 points -- his second-straight 20-point effort -- and Keaton Nankivil add 11 more.
Nankivil finished 3-for-3 from 3-point range to improve his season shooting percentage from distance to 52.2 percent.
As a team, the Badgers shot 59 percent from the floor and knocked in 11 of 17 attempts from 3-point range.
"We had some tough shots with the shot clock winding down," UW head coach Bo Ryan said. "Let's be honest, I don't know if we want to rely on a couple of those shots that we made all the time, in all fairness.
"But, you take those away and we were still pretty efficient offensively."
UW came out firing and shot 65 percent from the field in the first half -- its best performance in a half during Big Ten play. That included a 7-for-10 showing from the beyond the arc as the Badgers built an 18-point halftime lead.
Twice during a 14-2 first half run that gave Wisconsin its first double-digit lead of the game, Taylor took the ball into the lane and converted tough layups in traffic. A third time, he drew a foul and converted both free throws.
He capped off the run by saving an errant pass Jon Leuer threw to him as he cut toward the basket, tipping the ball to Mike Bruesewitz at the 3-point line. Bruesewitz then kicked it to Leuer, who drained a 3-pointer.
The Badgers didn't let up after halftime, either.
An 11-0 run five minutes into the second half blew things wide open, as Wisconsin built a lead that swelled to 66-33 with 11:38 to play.
"We know for us to be successful it starts on defense," Leuer said. "There are going to be nights when shots aren't going down and offensively it's going to be tough, but we always control how hard we work on defense.
"We've been doing a pretty good job at that."
UW wrapped eight free throws around a 3-pointer by Leuer to build the advantage. The free throw splurge included four from Tim Jarmusz, including two after he was elbowed in the face and was awarded two shots for an intentional foul.
Michigan State trimmed the lead to 23 points on three occasions down the stretch, as Kalin Lucas led the way for the Spartans with 20 points.
That margin was just short of the Badgers' largest ever over the Spartans, a 27-point win in 1972. It also offered a measure of retribution for UW, which suffered an overtime loss to the Spartans last month in East Lansing, Mich.
Since that game, the Badgers have gone 5-1 while Michigan State has lost five of seven.
"I think a big key for us has been finding our identity and playing consistently how we want to play," Nankivil said. "I think in the games we've had since then, for the most part, we've been playing the way we want to play and the way we play best."
A short homestand in the books, the Badgers hit the road Wednesday to take on an Iowa team that has won back-to-back games. Tip-off from Iowa City is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) on the Big Ten Network.