Chris Holtmann expected a much different game in Ohio State’s second go-round with Wisconsin, and that’s exactly what he got in Madison Thursday.
While it was Ohio State that ran away with things in the first matchup, the shoe was on the other foot Thursday, as Wisconsin took a double-digit lead early and kept the Buckeyes out of striking distance for most of the night. E.J. Liddell helped power a promising second-half comeback for Ohio State, which cut a 17-point Wisconsin lead down to six points in the final minute of play, but a monster night from Brad Davison and Tyler Wahl ultimately kept the Buckeyes at bay.
|#16 OHIO STATE||27||41||68|
The Buckeyes couldn’t make it a regular-season sweep of the Badgers, as they avenged an 18-point loss to Ohio State in the first meeting between the two teams just over a month ago at the Schottenstein Center. On Thursday at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin notched its sixth straight win since that loss to Ohio State with a 78-68 victory.
As a result, the Buckeyes have now lost two of their last three games in the past seven days.
Ohio State was a step behind the Badgers from jump, and Wisconsin had no trouble taking advantage of the slow start from the Buckeye offense. While Ohio State hit just three of its first 10 shots, the Badgers hit seven of their first 10, and five straight points from Wahl gave the Badgers an early 18-7 lead at the 13:31 mark.
That lead got as high as 14 points for Wisconsin, which took a 40-27 lead into halftime.
Wahl scored seven of the first 18 points for Wisconsin, which managed to maintain a double-digit lead on the Buckeyes for the majority of the opening 20 minutes. After scoring just three points in the first matchup with Ohio State, Wahl finished the game with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting.
The Buckeyes shot 42.9 percent from the floor as a team in the first half and went 0-for-8 from the 3-point line while the Badgers hit 7-for-13 from deep. Ohio State was also outrebounded 19-12, and despite equaling Wisconsin’s turnover total (seven), the Badgers outscored Ohio State 10-4 off of turnovers.
|30-60 (50%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||27-58 (46.6%)|
|3-19 (15.8%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||10-23 (43.5%)|
|5-10 (50%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||14-20 (76.5%)|
E.J. Liddell had just four points on 1-for-5 shooting at halftime, and no Buckeye besides Jamari Wheeler had more than four by intermission. Wheeler led Ohio State with seven points on 3-of-7 shooting, but also missed all three of his 3-point attempts.
Wisconsin went up by a game-high 16 points in the opening minutes of the second half, but Ohio State countered with a stretch of four straight unanswered layups to quickly cut the advantage to eight points.
But back came the Badgers right after, rattling off a 9-0 run of its own to extend its largest lead of the game even further, as Wisconsin went up 52-35 at the 13:35 mark.
Liddell and the Buckeyes just kept chipping, though, and when Ohio State’s star forward finally found a rhythm on offense, he helped cut the Wisconsin lead to just seven points to force a Badger timeout with 8:41 to play. Ohio State made it just a two-possession game three minutes later with a dunk from Zed Key.
But Wisconsin seemed to have an answer to quell every Buckeye run, and it was a pair of back-to-back and-ones by Davison and Wahl that extended the lead once again for the Badgers as the game reached its final stages. Both Wahl and Davison finished with more 20-point nights for Wisconsin, as Davison led the way with 25.
Ohio State cut it down to a six-point edge once again with an 11-0 run down to the 55-second mark, but Wisconsin held on to pick up the win.
Liddell, who fouled out before the end of the game, finished with 18 points on 6-for-12 shooting, and Wheeler added 11 as well. Key, Malaki Branham and Kyle Young all scored 10 points for the Buckeyes on the night.
What’s next: The Buckeyes return home to take on Penn State for the second time this season on Sunday at noon.
- Thursday’s game saw Chris Holtmann and Buckeye assistant coach Ryan Pedon return to the sideline for Ohio State after missing Sunday’s game due to COVID-19. Assistant coach Jake Diebler stepped in as acting head coach for the Northwestern contest, which the Buckeyes won.
- Ohio State freshman guard Meechie Johnson Jr. was unavailable for the Buckeyes for the first time this season, having suffered a facial injury in practice in the week leading up to the game.
- Justice Sueing (abdominal) and Seth Towns (back) were out once again for Ohio State. Sueing has missed all but the first two games of the season for the Buckeyes, while Towns has not played this year.
- Holtmann has three double-digit wins over Wisconsin since taking over the reins at Ohio State. Before Holtmann, the Buckeye program had just three since the 1997-98 season.