Wisconsin Holds Off Ohio State At Home, 65-60, As Buckeyes Fall to .500 on the Season

By Griffin Strom on February 2, 2023 at 9:10 pm

Wisconsin sustained a furious comeback effort late to walk out of the Schottenstein Center with a win over the Buckeyes.

In a game that saw Chris Holtmann get ejected in the first half after a heated exchange with the officiating crew, frequent Ohio State turnovers and sluggish offense allowed Wisconsin to build a double-digit lead early. The Badgers took a 43-27 lead into halftime, and the Buckeyes had to play the entire second half without their head coach on the sideline.

Team 1 2 FINAL
OHIO STATE 27 33 60
WISCONSIN 43 22 65

Ohio State came charging back to trail by just two points in the final minute, but with Brice Sensabaugh on the sideline with five fouls, the Buckeyes couldn’t make quite enough plays to secure a win. The 65-60 loss was Ohio State’s third in a row and its eighth in the last nine games, and the defeat dropped the scarlet and gray to .500 on the season.

First Half

Wisconsin opened things up with an 8-0 run that forced a timeout from Holtmann just 96 seconds into the action, but Sensabaugh tied things up just 2:11 later with eight straight points of his own.

Badger big man Steven Crowl helped regain the lead for Wisconsin after that, though, scoring 11 out of 13 points in a five-minute stretch to go back ahead by seven. While Ohio State turned the ball over four times in a 3:23 window, Wisconsin capitalized with a 3-pointer to take a double-digit lead, 26-16, with 7:07 to play in the first half.

It didn’t get better for the Buckeyes from there. A 12-2 Wisconsin run allowed the road team to take a 33-18 lead as turnovers and missed shots continued to pile up for the scarlet and gray. 

Sensabaugh scored 11 of Ohio State’s first 23 points, but had to take a seat on the bench after picking up his third foul of the period late in the half. Sesnsabaugh was whistled for both a personal and technical foul on the same sequence.

With 27 seconds remaining, an offensive foul call on Justice Sueing led to a heated exchange between Holtmann and the officiating crew. Holtmann was promptly ejected, and Wisconsin rattled off the final six points of the half to take a 16-point lead into intermission.

Ohio State outrebounded Wisconsin 22-9 in the period, but fouls and turnovers were costly for the Buckeyes. Three Badgers finished with double-digit point totals in the first half alone.

Second Half

60 POINTS 65
24-56 (42.9%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 23-55 (41.8%)
4-14 (28.6%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 6-20 (30%)
8-13 (61.5%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 13-22 (59.1%)

The Buckeyes were dealt another heavy blow when Sensabuagh picked up his fourth foul less than four minutes into the period. Ohio State embarked on a 7-0 run from 19:16 to 16:48, but Wisconsin then scored seven of the next nine points to stay up 16 at the 12:57 mark.

Ohio State kept chipping away at it, though, and a Zed Key bucket near the halfway point of the period trimmed the Badger advantage to 10 points. But just a minute later, Sensabaugh – who had a team-high 13 points at the time – fouled out with almost half of the final frame still to go.

The Buckeyes made it a single-digit ballgame at the free-throw line with 4:15 to play. Key banked in a layup on a transition pass from Isaac Likekele a few plays later, and suddenly Ohio State found itself in a two-possession game with 3:07 to go. 

Ohio State could’ve made it a one-score game thereafter, but Likekele was called for another offensive foul (and fifth turnover of the night) that put the ball back in the Badgers’ hands. However, it wasn’t the Buckeyes’ last chance.

A jumper from Sueing cut the Wisconsin lead to four points with less than a minute to go, and after a subsequent Badger miss, Ohio State had the ball with 41 seconds to play out of a timeout. Sueing hit a shot for a chance at a three-point play to cut it to a one-point Badger lead, but missed the free throw.

Wisconsin knocked down its free throws at the other end to seal the deal in Columbus.

Game Notes

  • Justice Sueing came off the bench for the third time in the past four games as Bruce Thornton, Sean McNeil, Isaac Likekele and Zed Key got the start for Ohio State.
  • Thursday’s matchup marked the 171st all-time meeting between Ohio State and Wisconsin, with the Buckeyes holding 90 non-vacated wins in the previous 170 matchups.
  • Ohio State and Wisconsin split the two games they played against one another in 2021-22, with the Buckeyes beating the Badgers in Columbus on Dec. 11, 2021, before Greg Gard and company got revenge the following month.
  • Ohio State wore “This Game is No Secret” warmup shirts in honor of the legacy of John McLendon, who led his team to a 1944 win over Duke in a game that had to be played in secret due to Jim Crow laws.
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