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Updated: Thursday, December 30, 2004 1:15 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Wisconsin 76, (13) Alabama 62

MADISON, Wisconsin (Ticker) -- Apparently, leading scorer Earnest Shelton left his offensive game in a much warmer climate for No. 13 Alabama.

Alando Tucker scored 21 points and Mike Wilkinson added 15 as Wisconsin recorded its 36th consecutive win at home with a 76-62 victory over Alabama.

The co-leader in the Southeastern Conference at 19.0 points per game, Shelton completely was thrown off his game by the hard-nosed defense of the Badgers. Saddled with two fouls, the 6-3 senior failed to score in the first half, missing his only shot from the field.

"(Shelton) didn't get a lot of good looks at the basket and I think they did a nice job of taking away anything that we were trying to run for Ernest," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We haven't had too many nights in his career that he has had two points. They guarded him as good as anyone has."

On the other hand, Wilkinson spurred Wisconsin (9-2) to an early lead, scoring the first seven points of the game and drawing an offensive foul on Shelton with 15:50 remaining.

After the Crimson Tide cut the deficit to 22-19, Zach Morley, who finished with 13, scored five points in the final 54 seconds of the first half to lift the Badgers to a 33-23 lead at the break.

"They did a nice job, we've been averaging about 85 points a game and getting up and down the floor and all of a sudden it was a different tempo for us," Gottfried said. "We didn't handle that very well and got impatient and we had a really poor first half and I think you have to give their coaching staff credit for that."

In the second half, Alabama rallied behind 10 quick points by Chuck Davis and Kennedy Winston hit back-to-back jumpers to close within 45-39. But Tucker responded with 15 points in the final 13:12 to help Wisconsin avenge a 71-56 setback in Tuscaloosa last season.

"What a game to get you ready for conference play," said Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, who improved to 7-0 against ranked opponents at home. "Everyone was playing for their territory in the post and trying to get their passing lanes working and things like that.

"Last year, we just got out of sync with Mike (Wilkinson) picking up a couple (of fouls) early. It just seemed like Alabama was ready to explode and it got its run in the second half against us. I thought by us getting a little cushion there at halftime really helped."

Tucker finished 7-of-13 from the field with three 3-pointers. He also had seven rebounds and five assists. Sharif Chambliss, who also had three long-range shots, chipped in 11 points and five assists for the Badgers, who shot 50 percent (26-of-52).

Winston and Davis both scored 18 points for the Crimson Tide, who shot 32 percent (9-of-28) from the field in the first half, mustering their lowest point total at the intermission (23). Shelton, who finished with four fouls, had a season-low two points on 1-of-5 shooting.


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