MADISON, WIS. - The Minnesotan weaved in and out of the lane. He hit shots from all over the floor and carried his team in crunch time.
But Jordan Taylor, who led Wisconsin to a 68-60 victory over the No. 14 Gophers at the Kohl Center on Tuesday night, doesn't wear maroon and gold.
The former Benilde-St. Margaret's star and Badgers starting point guard sliced up the Gophers defense like a Christmas fruitcake for 40 minutes, finishing with 22 points and seven assists in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams.
With 1 minute, 12 seconds left and the Badgers (11-2) leading by one, Taylor penetrated and lobbed a layup over Minnesota's bigs, drawing a foul in the process.
He hit the free throw to expand Wisconsin's lead 62-58 in a crucial sequence, a routine play on a dominant night.
"The and-one made it a two-possession game with a minute left. That was a big play," said Gophers guard Devoe Joseph, who tied Ralph Sampson III with a team-high 14 points in a game played in front of an announced crowd of 17,230.
Taylor scored 12 points in the final eight minutes of the first half and recorded eight in the last 5:27 of the second.
"I thought Jordan Taylor was outstanding today and played extremely well," Gophers coach Tubby Smith said. "We couldn't contain him or control him."
Taylor, a junior, chose to play for Wisconsin before Smith arrived in 2007. But he's still on a long list of former Minnesota prep stars who got away, many because they were overlooked.
"It's fun to play against Minnesota. I'm not going to lie," said Taylor, who committed one of Wisconsin's two turnovers, the lowest tally in Division I this season.
Despite Taylor's dominance, the Gophers had their chances in their only regular-season game with their border rival. Wisconsin took a 40-30 lead with 18:19 to play, but the Gophers (11-2) chipped away at the deficit.
With 6:57 remaining, Trevor Mbakwe -- who had 11 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season -- tried to rip the rim off its frame on a monster dunk that put the Gophers ahead 54-53.
For the rest of the game, the Gophers scored six points.
A late break eluded them when Taylor missed a three-point attempt with 26 seconds remaining and Wisconsin protecting a 62-60 lead. Al Nolen clipped the shot, but a Gophers team that outrebounded the Badgers 42-24 didn't have anyone in front of Wisconsin senior forward Jon Leuer, who retrieved the most important rebound of the night.
The Gophers were forced to foul and the Badgers hit all six of their free throws in the closing seconds, including four by Leuer, who finished with 16 points. Yep, Leuer (Orono) is on that list too, as are Wisconsin's Mike Bruesewitz (Henry Sibley) and Jared Berggren (Princeton).
"We feel like we kind of shot ourselves in the foot," Mbakwe said.
Added Joseph: "They made shots and we didn't get the shots we needed to. They made them and we missed them. That's just how it went."
And the Gophers replaced easier shots inside with difficult ones. Down the stretch, the Gophers tried to stay alive with a pair of missed layups off spin moves, an awkward hook shot and a three that missed the rim. They made three of their 12 three-point attempts.
"It means we probably took nine too many is what the problem was," Smith said. "We had some people take threes that probably shouldn't be taking threes. That's the kind of percentage you get when you have the wrong people taking threes."