Ohio State Men's Basketball: Another Loss To Deal With
Ohio State’s chances of winning at least a share of its third straight Big Ten championship were reduced to slim and none today when Wisconsin handed the eighth-ranked Buckeyes their second loss in their past three home games, 63-60 in Value City Arena.
The No.16 Badgers scored seven of the last 10 points to overcome a one-point deficit in the final 63 seconds.
Deshaun Thomas scored 23 points to lead Ohio State (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten), which fell two games behind first-place Michigan State with two games to play. William Buford added 15 points in his final home game, and Aaron Craft scored 13 for the Buckeyes.
Jordan Taylor had 19 points and Jared Berggren 18 for Wisconsin (21-8, 10-6).
Buford had five points in a 9-0 run that gave Ohio State a 50-42 lead with 8:14 left. But the Buckeyes were outscored 10-1 in the next 4 1/2 minutes as Jared Sullinger was forced to the bench by an apparent injury to his lower left leg. Wisconsin took advantage, cutting its deficit to a point with him on the bench and taking a 52-51 lead after he returned on a basket by Taylor with 3:47 left.
The teams traded baskets the next five possessions, and Ohio State led 57-56 when Craft missed two free throws with 1:19 left. The Buckeyes made 10 of 19 free throws in the game.
Taylor countered with two free throws to give the Badgers a 58-57 lead with 1:03 left, but the Buckeyes regained the lead on a basket by Sullinger with 46 seconds to play.
But Berggren nailed a three-pointer over Sullinger on Wisconsin’s next possession to give the Badgers the lead for good, 61-59, with 30.7 to play.
Ohio State called a timeout with 25.5 seconds left to draw up a final play, but Thomas was forced to double-clutch a three-point attempt from the top of the key with 16 seconds left and Berggren was fouled on the rebound. His two free throws extended Wisconsin’s advantage to 63-59 with 14.2 seconds to play.
Ohio State missed several attempts on their final possession before Craft made 1 of 2 free throws with six-tenths of a second left.
The teams were tied at 29 at halftime. The Buckeyes made more than half their shots from the field and outshot Wisconsin by 15 percent but hurt themselves with 10 turnovers, continuing a trend. Ohio State entered the game having had more turnovers than its opponents in its seven previous games and more turnovers than assists in five of those games.
Ohio State will play its final two games of the Big Ten season on the road, at Northwestern on Wednesday and at Michigan State on Sunday. They must win both games and have Michigan State lose two to share the title. Michigan State will play at Indiana on Tuesday night.