The Wisconsin Badgers (21-8, 10-6 Big Ten) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten) 63-60 in Columbus, OH Sunday afternoon. The last time the Badgers beat a top ten team on the road was January 26, 1980.
Wisconsin was led by point guard Jordan Taylor and forward/center Jared Berggren who combined for 37 of the Badgers 63 total points. Taylor made clutch shots toward the end of the game and finished with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. The Badgers moved the ball constantly on offense and rarely took a low-percentage shot. The team converted 41.8 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from behind the arc, but more importantly made over 80 percent of their free throws.
The Badgers struggled on defense to stop forward Deshaun Thomas who went 9-15 for 23 points. However, they did keep star forward Jared Sullinger in check as he only finished with eight points on four field goals. Wisconsin had to feel good going into halftime with the score tied 29-29 after Ohio State shot 73 percent from the field.
It was clear the Buckeyes were frustrated and came out firing in the second half. They threw everything they had at Wisconsin as they mounted leads of six and eight, but the Badgers continued to fight their way back. If Ohio State wants something to put the loss on it should be their free throw shooting. The Buckeyes converted a measly 52.6 percent from the line as it was clearly the deciding factor in the game.
Anyone who was lucky enough to watch the game got their money’s worth. There were 18 lead changes as both teams played outstanding on offense and defense. The Badgers and Buckeyes moved the ball quickly and shot with authority as if their season was on the line.
As good as Thomas was on Sunday his mental lapse with 19 seconds left in the second half cost Ohio State the game. With the Buckeyes down by two, Thomas took the ball at the top of the arc and decided to chuck up an ill attempted three-pointer with 14 seconds on the clock. Berggren collected the defensive rebound as the Ohio State players looked at their coach stunned. Nobody, including the CBS commentators, could figure out why Thomas threw up a difficult shot when they were only down by two at home with plenty of time left.
Regardless, the Badgers got a much needed victory that could not have come at a better time after being upset by the Iowa Hawkeyes last Thursday. With only two games left on the season against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Illinois Fighting Illini, the Badgers are looking good heading into the NCAA tournament.