No. 20 Wisconsin cruises past No. 13 Ohio St 71-49
WISCONSIN 71, OHIO ST 49
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin can be awfully good when it is
making shots. Ohio State found that out Sunday.
The 20th-ranked Badgers shot 53 percent from the field, their
best performance of the season, to rout No. 13 Ohio State 71-49.
"The guys got good looks, and they went down," Wisconsin coach
Bo Ryan said. "They didn't change anything. I'd like to say we
did, that we found something."
It was a dramatic turnaround offensively for Wisconsin (18-8,
9-4 Big Ten) after Thursday, when the Badgers went scoreless
over the final 5 minutes in regulation and then managed just
four points in overtime while losing at Minnesota.
The 39 first-half points tied their best opening period in Big
Ten play this season and were only 10 fewer than the Badgers
scored for the entire game at Ohio State in a Jan. 29 loss.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta said it was just one of those games
when the Badgers could do no wrong, perhaps best summed up in
the second half when Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson banked in
an off-balance shot as the clock shot expired.
Even so, Matta said he was at a loss to explain how poorly Ohio
State (18-7, 8-5) played on defense.
"We've seen the results if we're not going to play defensively.
We're not a good basketball team," Matta said. "If we're going
to rely on trying to outscore people, that's not going to
The win kept Wisconsin tied with Michigan for third in the
conference, two games behind leaders Indiana and Michigan State.
Ohio State dropped into fifth place.
Wisconsin put Ohio State in a hole early and never let the
Buckeyes climb out of it.
The Badgers took control with an 18-0 run in the first half that
lasted more than 7 minutes and put them up 24-6. At one point in
the run, Matta called timeout and said he lost it with his
players, asking in bewilderment what was going on.
"The way we opened the game defensively, guys catch and shoot,
we weren't even challenging shots," Matta said.
Things weren't much better on the offensive end. DeShaun Thomas
led Ohio State with 18 points, though he needed 17 shots to do
it and only got to the foul line once. Sam Thompson added 10
points but Aaron Craft was held to four on 2-of-9 shooting, and
the team shot less than 38 percent from the field. That included
3 of 12 from 3-point range.
Ohio State had only six assists and trailed by 17 points at
halftime. That was its largest deficit at the break since March
22, 2007, when the Buckeyes trailed Tennessee by the same margin
but went on to win 85-84.
"This is on us," Craft said. "Coaches can't get us ready to
play. The responsibility is on us as individual players. We've
got to go and bring teammates with us. We can't play like this
in February. This is beginning-of-the-year mistakes and mental
Wisconsin, by comparison, was a model of efficiency on offense.
The Badgers had 16 assists on 29 field goals and were 7 of 19
from 3-point range.
Ben Brust and Jared Berggren each scored 15 points to lead the
Badgers, while Brust also had 11 rebounds. Sam Dekker came off
the bench to score 13 for Wisconsin, and Jackson added 10.
Wisconsin built its first 20-point lead at 34-14 on Dekker's
3-pointer with less than 4 minutes to go in the first half and
led by as many as 26 in the second half.
Berggren said the Badgers didn't do anything differently against
the Buckeyes. He chalked up the offensive effort to a landslide
effect - when a couple of guys started making shots early, it
just spread across the team. It also helped that the Badgers
took advantage of Ohio State playing them tight on defense,
making hard cuts to the rim and then kicking the ball out to
open 3-point shooters.
"I think a big part is just knocking down shots," Berggren said.
"I think we got a lot of the same looks, but everything seems
better when the ball goes in."
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