The Taylor Standard

Jordan Taylor (Getty)

His shot wasn't falling and he never did, but junior guard Jordan Taylor didn't get down. Instead, he overcame his poor shooting night, and a late foul on a 3-point shot from the hot-shooting Jacob Pullen, to register the key defensive play of the game to send the Badgers back to the Sweet 16.

TUCSON, Ariz. - If Wisconsin fans were to look at the box score and see Jacob Pullen had scored 38 points on 13 of 22 shooting, and Jordan Taylor has scored just 12 points and 2 of 16 shooting, you'd be hard pressed to find a Badgers fan that thought UW would have a chance to beat the Wildcats.

After all, this was the match-up everyone was talking about. A pair of upperclassmen meeting for the right to advance to New Orleans and the Sweet 16. Two guards that have the capability to fill it up offensively and the capability to lock the other down defensively.

So by merely looking at the stats, it's clear that Pullen got the best of Taylor individually. However, with the Badgers getting the hard-fought 70-65 victory at the McKale Center Friday night, it's Taylor who knows he won the battle that mattered in the end.

"I feel like I won the battle because we won the game," Taylor said. "A lot of people obviously asked questions yesterday and, you know, or about the match-up and, you know, I said then, it's a team sport.

"So obviously he is a heck of a player. He was the best player on the floor tonight. But we're moving on and going to New Orleans. So that's all that matters."

With all of the struggles Taylor had offensively, his biggest play of the night came at the end of the game when he blocked Pullen's attempt to tie the game with three seconds left in the game.

"I was just trying to make a play," Taylor said. "We've been saying all year long we get a lot of guys who can make plays on this team. And, you know, there are going to be nights when people struggle offensively. Coach always talks about picking each other up. We talk to each other about it.

"I was just trying to do something to slow him down and play my part in the win. And that happened to be it."

Even with Taylor's struggles, head coach Bo Ryan was very pleased with the focus and leadership turned in by his junior point guard.

"He was having a rough night scoring, but he is a taskmaster of his own skills and his own abilities that he's not going to throw the rest of it away simply because things have gotten away from him," Ryan said. "Because he is that dedicated to being the leader on this team on the floor. He never wavered from that the whole time."

So despite taking a beating from Pullen all night long, Taylor's teammates were there to pick him up for 39 minutes and 58 seconds. But for the last three seconds of the game, Taylor returned the favor, and as a result, he and the rest of his Badger teammates are marching on to the Sweet 16, where the Butler Bulldogs await Thursday. Recommended Stories

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