That game was, uh, something, huh?
After leading by as much as 23 points in the second half, the No. 21 Wisconsin Badgers nearly fell in Columbus on Sunday afternoon inside Value City Arena. However, UW rebounded and defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes 73-67 in an overtime contest that became too close for comfort.
Regardless of how they won, Wisconsin (22-9, 14-6 Big Ten) finished conference play in fourth place and will receive a double-bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament that starts this week. On Mar. 15, the Badgers will face the winner of the contest between No. 5 seed Maryland and either No. 12 Rutgers/No. 13 Nebraska.
Khalil Iverson continued a hot streak at the right time, setting a career-high for points (22) and rebounds (14) on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. After registering his first career double-double against Iowa on Thursday, the senior forward added his second during the key conference contest.
Ethan Happ nearly recorded his third triple-double of the season, recording 16 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.
Wisconsin also received contributions from Brad Davison, as he returned to form with 14 points, including hitting three of six attempts from three-point range, along with grabbing four rebounds.
The team as a whole shot only 41.5 percent for the field for the game overall, and again did not shoot well from three-point range in making seven of 21 opportunities (33.3 percent).
UW contained Ohio State (18-13, 8-12) to 37.9 shooting overall (25-of-66), while the Buckeyes struggled from the free throw line in converting just eight of 15 attempts. Senior guard C.J. Jackson tied a game-high with 22 points on seven of 12 from the field with five rebounds and five assists.
No other Buckeye scored in double figures, but both forward Justin Ahrens and guard Keyshawn Woods recorded nine points each. Ahrens and Woods also finished with seven and five rebounds, respectively.
Wisconsin never trailed in the contest and owned the points in the paint (38 to 26) while out-rebounding Ohio State 47-41 in the win.
“We don’t play ‘til Friday!”— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) March 10, 2019
▪️ Clinched the No. 4 seed in the #B1GTourney and a double bye
▪️ 14 conference wins for just the third time in school history
▪️Top-four finish in the Big Ten for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons#OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/CbPPNdco94
The Badgers took a 26-16 lead into halftime, though both teams shot poorly in the first half. Wisconsin held the Buckeyes to just 20.7 percent shooting (6-of-27), including connecting on just one of eight three-point attempts.
UW did not fare much better, however, as the team shot 35.7 percent. Iverson recorded 10 points and seven rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting. The rest of the team combined to make just six of 24 attempts overall. Redshirt junior guard Brevin Pritzl contributed six points off the bench, and Happ registered four points and six rebounds in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, Wisconsin extended the lead to as much as 23 points after an Iverson layup with 16:05 remaining to make it 44-21. That was thanks to an 18-5 run to start the period, and an 11-0 run within that stretch itself—including two three-pointers from D’Mitrik Trice—helped expand the advantage further.
Ohio State pulled back within 15 points after an Ahrens three-pointer with 12:19 remaining to make it 49-34. UW responded with a 9-2 run, and with five consecutive points by Davison, extended the lead back out to 22 points at 58-36 with 7:14 remaining.
However, in the final 6:56 of the game, Ohio State outscored Wisconsin 27-5 to send the game to overtime. Twelve of those Buckeye points in that span came from Jackson, and it was a nearly inexplicable collapse for the Badgers in this timeframe.
Chris Holtmann’s team pushed 11-0 run in less than two minutes to make it a 58-47 deficit with 4:59 remaining.
Then in the final 2:51, Ohio State pulled off a 12-0 run that ultimate sent the teams to the extra frame. Jackson’s jumper with 36 seconds remaining was the final bucket for either teams in regulation. Happ was called for an offensive foul, giving the Buckeyes a chance to win the game with the last shot, but Jackson air-balled a three-pointer with about three seconds remaining.
In overtime, both teams went scoreless until Iverson’s first of two layups in the period with 3:13 remaining to give UW a 65-63 lead. He scored the Badgers’ first four points in the extra period, while Jackson made only two of four free throw opportunities that allowed UW to retain a 67-65 lead with 2:05 remaining.
Happ hit one of two free throws at both the 2:01 and :43 marks to push the advantage to four at 69-65, but Woods’ layup cut the Ohio State deficit in half with 38 seconds remaining.
Woods then fouled Davison with around 25.9 seconds left, and the sophomore guard hit both to push the lead back out to two possessions at 71-67. On the next possession, Woods missed a three-pointer that gave the ball back to Wisconsin.
Trice hit two more free throws with just over 10 seconds left in overtime to make it a six-point lead, and on the opposite end of the court, Davison drew a charge on Duane Washington, Jr. with seven seconds remaining to all but seal the win.
Wisconsin made only two of six field goal attempts and six of 11 free throws in overtime, but Ohio State fared worse—only hitting one of five shots and two of four free throws.