Joey Cranney > Freshman >Journalism > Temple University, Photo by Christopher Garrison
After the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers had dealt the top team in the country, the Ohio State Buckeyes, their first loss of the season, the Badger faithful stormed the court and lifted junior point guard Jordan Taylor on to their shoulders.
The celebration was both the product of an exuberant student section and an unintentional symbolic gesture of the rise of one of the most prominent, yet unheralded stars in college basketball.
Taylor scored 27 points, collected four rebounds, and dished out seven assists while turning the ball over just once in leading Wisconsin to a 71-67 victory over the previously undefeated Buckeyes.
He proved to be extremely clutch down the stretch of the game, scoring 21 points in the second half alone to lead the Badgers to their comeback win.
Taylor’s run began when Ohio State took their biggest lead of the game, 47-32 with thirteen minutes left to play in the second half. Taylor responded by leading the Badgers on a 15-0 run in which he scored 10 of the points himself and assisted on the other five.
Ohio State retook the lead with back-to-back scores, but Taylor responded again. Wisconsin made two three-point-shots in a throw – one by Taylor, one assisted by Taylor. He went on to score five of the Badgers’ next nine points to give Wisconsin a six-point lead with just under two minutes left to play.
But the Buckeyes made four free throws in the span of a minute, and suddenly it was a two-point game with a minute left to play.
On Wisconsin’s key next possession Taylor converted the most important play of the game.
As the Ohio State defense converged on Taylor, he passed the ball to sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz who hit a three-pointer that struck a dagger into the hearts of Ohio State and sent Wisconsin fans into a state of unbridled excitement.
As Ohio State scrambled in the final thirty seconds, Taylor sank two more free throws to ice the victory and put a cap on what is one of the most extraordinary performances of the year in college basketball.
Overall, Taylor hit six of seven shots and assisted on four baskets in the final 13 minutes of the game. He was directly involved in 34 of Wisconsin’s 39 final points.
But this was nothing out of the ordinary for those who have been paying attention to Taylor this season. He averages over 18 points per game, has a three-point percentage of .424, and lead’s the nation in assists to turnover ratio with 3.89 to 1.
Taylor’s performance against the best team in the country cements him as one of the best and players in the game today.