Ohio State Handles Wisconsin in Madison
15th ranked Ohio State won their third straight road game against a ranked opponent, leading wire-to-wire and upsetting 10th ranked Wisconsin 74-62 in their only regular season matchup of the regular season. With the win, Ohio State moves to 12-4 and 6-4 in conference play while Wisconsin falls to 12-4 and 6-3 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes had 7 players scoring at least 8 in a balanced scoring effort, led by E.J. Liddell’s 20 to go along with 7 rebounds and Seth Towns added 10 in the winning effort. The Buckeyes clearly had a lift by the return of their captain and point guard, C.J. Walker, who played 23 minutes, scored 8 points and dished out 3 assists. The Buckeyes hit 51% from the floor while holding the Badgers to just 40% and outrebounding Wisconsin 35-29 keying the win.
It was a quick start for the Buckeyes, scoring the first 6 of the game, thanks to a pair of long jumpers from E.J. Liddell, playing a little two man game on the right wing with Duane Washington, Jr.. Wisconsin cut the lead in half after a three from the top found the bottom, but an old-fashioned three-point play from Kyle Young put Ohio State up 9-3 at the first media timeout. Out of the timeout, C.J. Walker lobbed to Zed Key for a dunk and the Buckeyes lead ballooned to 11-3. The Badgers trimmed the lead to 13-7 before a long jumper from Seth Towns fell, putting the Buckeyes up eight. The Badgers trimmed to it to five, when former Buckeye Micah Potter completed an old-fashioned three-point play. The Buckeyes answered when Towns buried a 17-foot jumper putting the Buckeyes back up seven, but a Badger triple cut the lead to just 4. The Buckeyes stretched the lead to eight, when Sueing and Towns both hit jumpers and increased to 11 when Washington drilled a three from the top and the Buckeyes had scored the last seven. The Badgers ended the run, scoring the next four to cut the Buckeye lead to seven, but Walker found Justin Ahrens in the right corner and Ahrens buried the three to give Ohio State a 10-point lead and at the under four media timeout, the Buckeyes led the Badgers 27-17. Wisconsin cut the lead to seven, knocking down three of four free throws, but Liddell completed an old-fashioned three-point play, increasing the lead back to 10. A Badger three cut the lead back to seven before Towns hit a turnaround jumper off the glass to put Ohio State back up 9. Wisconsin cut the lead to seven late in the half and Ohio State had an opportunity late in the half to increase the lead a bit before the half but Washington had his shot blocked at the rim, ending the half with Ohio State leading 32-25. Ohio State, who shot 46% from the floor, was led by Seth Towns, who had 8 and E.J. Liddell who had 7. The Buckeye lead at the break was due in large part to the defense, which held Wisconsin to just 33% from the floor contesting everything and taking the Badgers out of anything they tried to do offensively.
Sueing kicked off the second half scoring, hitting a short jumper in the lane to put Ohio State up nine. A transition triple from Wisconsin trimmed the lead to six, but Ohio State answered with a Liddell triple putting the Buckeyes right back up nine. After a Badger turnover, Kyle Young scored off the glass at the block and Wisconsin called timeout with Ohio State leading 39-28 and 17:29 to play. Out of the timeout, the Badgers cut the lead to 8 with an old-fashioned three point play, but a Liddell fade away from the left baseline put Ohio State back up 10. After a Badger hoop, Liddell drilled a 15 footer and after a Wisconsin miss, Young found Ahrens on the perimeter for a three and Ohio State was up 13. The Badgers ended the Buckeye mini run, completing yet another old-fashioned three-point play on the ensuing possession to trim the lead back to 10. Ahrens answered with another triple and after a Badger bucket, Walker hit a jumper from the elbow to give Ohio State a 13-point lead. A 5-0 Wisconsin run cut the lead to 8, but Walker scored on a dribble drive to end the run and Ohio State led by 10 at the under 12 media timeout. The Badgers scored in transition off an Ohio State turnover to cut the lead to 8 and after another Buckeye turnover, Wisconsin scored to cut the lead to six and the Badgers were on a 9-2 run. The Buckeyes stopped the spurt starting with Sueing making a strong move in the lane for a score and the lead increased back to 10 when Towns got into the lane and scored at the rim and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State led Wisconsin 57-47. A Badger three cut the Buckeye lead to 7, but Liddell found room on the block for a bucket and Ohio State led by 9. A Wisconsin bucket cut the lead back to 7 and after a Buckeye turnover, another Wisconsin triple fell and the lead was just 4. Young answered, catching the ball on the block and scoring in the lane while being fouled. He buried the free throw and Ohio State was back up 7. The Badgers answered again with yet another three, the third straight by Wisconsin forward Aleem Ford and with 3:40 remaining, Washington was heading to the line with the Buckeyes clinging to a 4-point lead. Washington knocked down both freebies and after a Badger miss, Walker hit a short jumper just below the free throw stripe and the Buckeyes led by 8. A pair of Walker free throws increased the lead to 10 but an old-fashioned three-point play by the Badgers cut the lead to 7 with 1:05 to play. Another Badger free throw trimmed the lead to 7 but a pair of free throws by Washington and another pair by Liddell put the Buckeyes up 10 to seal it. Liddell bagged another pair to complete the scoring and the Ohio State win.
This Buckeye team continues to impress and this game was no different. They continue to find ways to win basketball games and today they controlled the game from start to finish. Although Wisconsin made it interesting late, with a flurry of threes, Ohio State found a way to finish, including making their last six free throws to keep Wisconsin from getting within striking distance. While Washington struggled shooting tonight, the Buckeyes showed that they can get scoring from other areas and the depth and balance of this team clearly shows in a game like this. Ohio State, which has the 5th best offense in the country continues to be very efficient in the half court and Coach Holtmann may have his deepest team in his Ohio State tenure. They can get offense from multiple players, which makes things difficult for opposing defenses. Ohio However, the story of this game has to be how much more connected Ohio State looked on the defensive end, never allowing Wisconsin to get comfortable in the half court and even forcing the Badgers into an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers. They will need to continue to build on it as they move through the most difficult conference in America.
Rumors have it Ohio State may be adding a non-conference game in the middle of next week, however as it stands now, they are scheduled to take the floor again a week from tomorrow, hosting Michigan State in the Schott. Tip time scheduled for 1 pm and airing on CBS.