Ohio State Upset for the Second Straight Game, Falling at Home to Wisconsin

Playing at home for only the second time in almost a month, Ohio State fell to 1-2 in Big Ten play, suffering a damaging defeat, 61-57 at the hands of Wisconsin.  The Buckeyes, playing without junior forward Kyle Young, out with appendectomy surgery, struggled in their first game in 2020, definitely missing Young’s presence in the paint.  Ohio State struggled once again taking care of the basketball in key moments and Wisconsin made them pay, winning away from home for only the second time this season and becoming only the second Big Ten road team to win so far this season.  Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 22 points and 13 rebounds, including his 1,000th point as a Buckeye. Duane Washington, Jr. added 18 but with little production from anyone else, including just 2 bench points, fell for the second straight game and slipped to 11-3 on the year.

Ohio State got off to a fast start and after 5 minutes, despite missing 7 of their first 10 shots, led 7-0 with all points coming from Kaleb Wesson.  The Buckeyes lead was in large part due to their defense, which forced 5 early Badger turnovers and quite frankly could’ve had a much bigger lead and probably should’ve. The Badgers scored 6 of the game’s next 8 points and at the under 12 media timeout, the Buckeye lead stood at just 9-6. Wisconsin would battle back to tie it with 10:30 left in the half but a 6-0 Ohio State run capped by a Duane Washington three put Ohio State back in front by 6.  The Badgers answered again with back-to-back 3’s to tie it once again as the teams went to the bench at the under 8 media timeout.  Wisconsin, who missed their first 5 shots, made 6 of their next 9 to get even. The Buckeyes scored the next four before Kaleb Wesson picked up his second foul and went to the bench and quickly after Wesson departed, the Badgers cut the lead to just a pair. Wisconsin tied it again before Ohio State scored the next 4, all from the stripe to lead again by 4. The Badgers would go on to outscore the Buckeyes 7-2 over the next minute to take their first lead after a three went through the ropes with 40 seconds to go in the half and Chris Holtmann called a quick 30 second timeout. After a Justin Ahrens three-point attempt went awry, the Badgers drilled another triple to end the half on a 10-2 run to lead 29-25 at the break. The Buckeyes trailed in large part due to a poor shooting half.  Ohio State hit only 9 of 25 field goal attempts, including a dismal 1 out of 10 from long range, while the Badgers didn’t shoot it much better.  Wisconsin made just 10 of 26 of their shot attempts, but they did knock down 4 of their 11 three point attempts to enjoy a 4 point lead.  Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 10 points and 9 rebounds, despite missing the final 4 plus minutes of the half when the Badgers went on their run.

The Buckeyes got off to a roaring start in the second half, starting with a Duane Washington triple and after a Wisconsin bucket, Andre Wesson drilled a triple of his own to quickly tie the game. The Buckeyes continued the onslaught, building the lead to 38-31 after a Kaleb Wesson lay in forcing a Wisconsin timeout with Ohio State on a 13-2 run to open the second half and 16:51 to go in the game. The game came to a screeching halt out of the timeout as neither team scored for over 3 minutes and it was the Badgers who broke the drought, scoring the next 4 to cut the lead to 3.  Ohio State’s scoring drought reached nearly 5:30 before Kaleb Wesson buried a three from the right point to extend the Buckeye lead back to 6. A Badger three cut the Buckeye lead in half and after a Buckeye turnover, the Badgers trimmed the lead to just 1 with a short jumper in the paint and 8 minutes remaining in the game. A pair of Washington free throws gave Ohio State a 3 point lead and after Wisconsin split a pair of free throws, a Buckeye turnover led to a Badger break out for a score to tie the game with 6:40 to go.  Kaleb Wesson knocked down a pair from the stripe to give Ohio State a 2-point lead again and neither team would score for the next 2 minutes until Washington drove down the right side for the scoop and score to give Ohio State a 4-point lead.  The Badgers cut it to two and that’s where it stood at the under 4 media timeout, with Ohio State clinging to a 51-49 lead and 3:47 left in regulation and Wisconsin possessing the basketball. The Badgers split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 1 and after back to back empty possessions for Ohio State, a Wisconsin 15 foot jumper found the bottom of the net to give the Badgers a 1 point lead and Chris Holtmann called timeout with Wisconsin leading 52-51 and 1:47 remaining. On the ensuing possession, C.J. Walker missed a short jumper through contact and Wisconsin possessed the ball with the lead and a little over a minute remaining. A Badger triple gave Wisconsin a 4 point lead, but quickly Ohio State answered with a Duane Washington 3 from the left point cutting the margin to 1 with 57 seconds to go. After a Wisconsin offensive rebound after a miss, Ohio State fouled and both free throws went down the ropes to give Wisconsin a 3 point lead.  After Kaleb Wesson missed a 3 from the top, another pair of Wisconsin free throws gave the Badgers a 5 point advantage and just 15 seconds left and all but sealed it.

 The young Buckeyes are being thrown into the fire, finding out how difficult it is in Big Ten play, and until E.J. Liddell and D.J. Carton adjust, they will continue to struggle.  Missing a veteran like Young certainly hurt Ohio State on this night, but they must play more disciplined basketball or life in the Big Ten will be tough sledding.  It doesn’t get any easier from here but that’s life in college basketball.  Ohio State has lost 3 games on the year and all 3 are coming off extended layoffs.  Twice coming off 8 days between games and this time off 5 days off, Ohio State has looked out of sync offensively in the half court.  Until they figure out how to become more efficient and value the basketball, they will have more nights like this.  The ceiling is definitely high for this basketball team but the young guys need to grow up fast.

It won’t get any easier for Ohio State as the Buckeyes take the floor again on Tuesday night in College Park, Maryland visiting the 15th ranked Terrapins, where Ohio State has found life extremely difficult in the past several years.  Tip time is scheduled for 7 pm airing on ESPN.

-Jason Harris

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