The #10 Wisconsin Badgers fell to the #15 Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday at the Kohl Center 74-62. The Badgers were unable to click both offensively and defensively consistently. The Badgers fall to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in Big Ten play. Below are some takeaways from this game.
Ohio State Made Contested Shots
While Wisconsin didn’t play it’s best game defensively, Ohio State deserves credit for making some tough and contested jumpers. In the first half, Seth Towns and E.J. Liddell were consistently making shot just inside the three point line with a Badger defender in their face most of the time. Liddell finished the game leading the Buckeyes with 20 points while Towns added 10 off the bench
Ohio State was coming off a 67-65 home loss to Purdue earlier in the week. They cam ready to play and brought a ton of energy. This energy and tough shot-making put stress on the Badgers on both sides of the ball from the opening tip.
Wisconisn Weathered The Storm
This game felt that it could get out of control in the fist half. Wisconsin could not buy a basket and Ohio State was constantly on the attack. Wisconsin needed a spark and they got one from point guard D’Mitrik Trice. Trice did not attempt a field goal until 9 minutes left in the first half. He was able to go on a run of his own and score 9 of the final 11 points for Wisconsin in the first half. As a result, Wisconsin went into the locker room down 32-25. At this point, it felt like Wisconsin took some momentum back and was back in this game.
The Buckeyes Answered Every Second Half Run From Wisconsin
The Buckeyes began the second half making seven of their first nine shots to build a 13 point lead. Wisconsin was able to keep the game anywhere from 6-10 points, giving themselves a fighting chance. Wisconsin got a huge spark late in the second half from Aleem Ford. Ford hit three consecutive threes to get the Badgers within four at 62-58 with 4:48 left. Before that, Wisconsin was 4-21 from three.
After Wisconsin closed the gap, the Buckeyes were able to close the game on the free throw line from junior Dwayne Washington Jr. Ohio State looked to be comfortable from the opening tip, handing Wisconsin only their second home loss in the last 20 games. With Wisconsin as the top defensive team in the Big Ten, Ohio State was in control from the opening tip in this game.
Wisconsin Became Content With The Three
It’s no secret Wisconsin is a very good three point shooting team. They average about 39% from behind the arc as a team. However, when the three point shot wasn’t falling against the Buckeyes, the Badgers continued to force the three to get back in the game. Wisconsin did this as well in the Northwestern game Wednesday night. They got cold from three and instead of finding other ways to score points, they continued to keep shooting the three. They were able to break it and get hot again in the second half, but we knew it wasn’t going to work against the really good teams in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin also had a height advantage against the Buckeyes. I would have loved to see more Micah Potter, Nate Reuvers, and Aleem Ford in the post. It did happen, especially with Potter, but not enough to make Ohio State work to defend the post.
Wisconsin also missed three point shots when they were open. That’s okay though because it happens. It was frustrating to see on a ton of possessions where Wisconsin didn’t look to get the ball in the post and either drive to the hoop or kick out. Instead, it seemed they shot the three early in the shot clock in hopes they would get on a roll and steal momentum.
This is still a very good Badger team. They’ll be at or near the top of the Big Ten standings once the regular season is over. However, I would like to see Wisconsin win games in other ways besides shooting the three. Wisconsin’s best offense is getting the ball on the post and making the defense respect the layup that can result in open shooters. it’s a habit I would like to see them break.
Wisconsin travels to Maryland Wednesday night to take on the Terrapins. Wisconsin is looking to avenge a 70-64 loss against Maryland at the Kohl Center earlier in the season.