Ohio State probably isn't going to the NCAA Tournament but crafted its best performance of the season against one of the Big Ten's top teams on Thursday.
Using a terrific first-half performance from junior forward Jae'Sean Tate as a springboard, Thad Matta's Buckeyes took care of No. 16 Wisconsin 83-73 at Value City Arena. The victory halts a three-game skid for Ohio State, who is now 16-13 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play. The 83 points are the most allowed by the Badgers in league play this season.
Tate recorded the 10th double-double of his career in the first half, tallying 13 points and corralling 10 rebounds. He finished with 15 points and 12 boards. C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes with 18 points, a career-high, to go with four assists. He also nailed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc, as Ohio State shot 10-of-16 from deep. JaQuan Lyle came off the bench and finished 10-of-10 from the free-throw line on his way to 17 points.
The loss drops the Badgers to 22-6 overall and 11-4 in the Big Ten. They are now one full game behind league-leading Purdue in the standings.
Ohio State owned the glass all game, out-hustling Wisconsin to a 38-25 rebounding advantage. Wisconsin scored the first basket of the game but lost the lead for good 1 minute later. The last time the two teams met, the Badgers thrashed the Buckeyes 89-66 in Madison on Jan. 12.
|25–50 (50%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||25–57 (44%)|
|10–16 (63%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||13–30 (43%)|
|23–27 (85%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||10–15 (67%)|
Despite chucking up multiple air balls and committing three turnovers, senior Marc Loving managed to score 10 points as the fourth Buckeye in double figures. Bronson Koenig tied a career high with 27 for Wisconsin, while D'Mitrik Trice added 11.
Ohio State buried five of its first eight 3-pointers and shot 52 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes for a 44-31 lead at halftime. Tate was everywhere, on his way to the double-double.
The Buckeyes outrebounded Wisconsin 23-12 before intermission. Ohio State led by as many as 16 and all eight players that saw time made at least one field goal in the first half. Koenig connected on four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points to keep the Badgers within striking distance. Ohio State's decision to constantly double the post gave Wisconsin fits all night.
The Badgers went on a 7-0 run early in the second half but Ohio State weathered the storm with timely shots despite Koenig's best efforts. Wisconsin never got cut the deficit lower than nine in the second half. The Buckeyes led by 20 points with 4 minutes to go.
Ohio State is off this weekend. The Buckeyes are scheduled to travel to Penn State on Tuesday for an 8:30 p.m. tipoff.