The Ohio State Buckeyes ended a three game losing streak with their best performance of the season, an 83-73 upset of the 16th ranked Wisconsin Badgers, controlling the game from beginning to end. Ohio State moves to 16-13 on the season and 6-10 in Big Ten play with two games remaining, a road game at Penn State Tuesday and a home game against Indiana on March 4.
Freshman C.J. Jackson had the best game of his young career, leading the team with 18 points on 4-4 shooting from 3-point range.
JaQuan Lyle contributed 17 points off the bench while Jae’Sean Tate added 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Despite shooting three air balls, Marc Loving was the fourth Buckeye player in double digits, tallying 10 points.
The Buckeyes out hustled the Badgers on both ends of the floor in the first half, shooting 52% from the field and out rebounding the visitors 23-12 in the first 20 minutes of play.
The Badgers went on an early 7-0 second half run behind timely made baskets by Bronson Koenig, who tied a career high with 27 points, but were never able to get within nine points of the Buckeyes in the second half.
Ohio State’s lead grew to 20 points with 3:41 remaining in the game, before closing out the game for the 83-73 win.
Thad Matta’s defensive strategy of doubling the post players gave Wisconsin fits all night, limiting Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ to 7 and 4points, respectively.
In the overall picture this season, it’s a little too late for the Buckeyes in terms of the NCAA tournament. It’d be nearly impossible to make their return to the tournament without winning the Big Ten tournament in DC. Instead, a return to the NIT is more realistic.