Late First Half Run and Hot Wisconsin Shooting Cost Ohio State in Road Loss

A 16-0 Wisconsin run at the end of the first half sparked the Badgers to a convincing 70-57 win over the visiting Buckeyes in Madison.  Wisconsin built a lead as large as 24 in the second half, ending the Buckeyes 3 game winning streak, dropping Ohio State’s record to 5-7 in conference play and 15-8 overall.  Andre Wesson led the Buckeyes with 11, while C.J. Walker and Luther Muhammad each chipped in 9 for the losing Buckeyes. Nine first half turnovers combined with a hot stretch of shooting from Wisconsin created a deficit too large for the Buckeyes to overcome in dropping the season series to the Badgers 2 games to none. The Buckeyes did a better job taking care of the ball in the second 20 minutes, but struggled shooting the basketball all game long, hitting only 18 field goals in 49 attempts which allowed Wisconsin to grab the home victory.

Each team could only muster a three each way in the early going as the score stood at 3-3 at the first media timeout of the game. A 1 of 7 shooting start from Ohio State along with 5 turnovers enabled the Badgers to go out in front 7-3 7 minutes into the game.  Duane Washington Jr. hit a runner snapping a 4 minute Buckeye scoring drought and cutting the deficit to 2.  After a defensive stop, Washington found Kyle Young at the rim for two to tie the score at 7.  Another Buckeye stop followed with a corner 3 off the fingers of Andre Wesson to give Ohio State a 10-7 lead, scoring the last 7 of the game.  After a Badger turnover just before the under 12 media timeout, Andre Wesson banked in a triple from the top as the shot clock was expiring giving Ohio State a 13-7 advantage. A Badger 3 snapped the 10-0 Buckeye run and following a turnover, Wisconsin pulled within a point when former Buckeye Micah Potter knocked down a 15 footer from the baseline. A Kaleb Wesson rebound and put back gave the Buckeyes a 3 point lead, but another Badger three pulled the game back even. A Badger triple and a pair of free throws gave Wisconsin a 20-15 lead with 6 minutes to go in the half. Washington took a rebound coast to coast for a bucket to end the Badger 8-0 run and cut the lead to 3. After a Wisconsin hoop, Andre Wesson drilled a 3 from the wing to cut the Wisconsin lead to 22-20.  The Badgers scored the next 5 to go up 7 forcing Chris Holtmann to call a timeout with 3:29 remaining in the first half with Wisconsin leading 27-20.  The Badger onslaught continued, scoring the final 11 points of the half, a 16-0 run to close the half to lead by a commanding 38-20 margin at the break. Andre Wesson’s 9 points led the Buckeyes who turned it over 9 times in the first half and combined with hot Badger shooting, had Ohio State looking up at a mammoth deficit heading into the 2nd half.

Luther Muhammad opened the 2nd half scoring with a triple from the top, cutting the lead to 15 and a short time later, Muhammad buried a pair of free throws, Ohio State’s first trip to the line of the game, to cut the deficit to 13. Following a Badger turnover, Kaleb Wesson tipped in a Walker miss in transition to trim the lead to 11.  A Wisconsin hoop ended the 7-0 Buckeye run, but Kyle Young answered with a jump hook to trim the deficit back to 11.  A long, near 28 foot triple dropped for Wisconsin at the end of the shot clock bumped the lead back to 14 and at the under 16 media timeout, Wisconsin led 43-29 and due to head to the line after the break. Both free throws dropped and Ohio State trailed by 16. After creating a turnover on the defensive end, Muhammad hit a floater in transition, but another Badger 3 answered giving Wisconsin a 17-point lead. The hot shooting Badgers continued their onslaught.  After a Buckeye hoop briefly cut the lead to 15, 5 straight from Wisconsin, including yet another 3, their 11th of the game gave Wisconsin a 53-33 lead with 10:57 to go at the under 12 media timeout. Like a broken record, another Wisconsin triple put the Badgers up 23 out of the timeout. The Badgers led by 24 at the under 8 media timeout as everything was going Wisconsin’s way on this day. The Buckeyes kept fighting, and when E.J. Liddell buried a three from the top of the key the lead was cut to 14, but time was not on Ohio State’s side as just 3:26 showed on the game clock. A short jumper from C.J. Walker cut the lead to 12 but that was as close as Ohio State could get.

Some days it is just not your day.  The Buckeyes certainly did not play well offensively, turning it over at a higher rate than they had on the recent three game winning streak, but that’s Wisconsin’s style.  They play very deliberate and force you to use the shot clock in the half court.  The Buckeyes did not shoot it very well overall and Wisconsin was absolutely lights out from beyond the arc in stretches, which allowed them to build an insurmountable lead.  The good news is the Buckeyes head home for back-to-back games in the friendly confines for the first time since mid-December and one of those games was at St. John Arena. That’s life in this conference this year.  While there isn’t one dominant team, there is depth and balance and every game is going to be a dog fight.  If you don’t bring your A game, you will lose and Ohio State found that out today.  They will have to get ready to go quickly as an upstart Rutgers team comes to town.  While the Scarlet Knights haven’t been playing very well away from home, they are big and physical and have the ability to get you out of any kind of offensive rhythm but it’s a game Ohio State needs in a big way to get back into the thick of the conference race as they try to position themselves to get ready for what will be a wild conference tournament in Indianapolis in a month.

The Buckeyes will try to bounce back on Wednesday when they host Rutgers at the Schott. Game time scheduled for 7pm to be and airing on The Big Ten Network.

-Jason Harris


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