After a pair of conference wins over Rutgers and Northwestern, the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (12-4 overall, 6-3 Big Ten) welcomed the No. 15 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (12-4 overall, 6-4 Big Ten) for a Saturday matinee at the Kohl Center.
Both teams came in to the contest sitting in the top half of the conference standings, with the Badgers a game behind Michigan in the pecking order. Representing the only matchup between the two teams on the 2020-2021 schedule, it was the Buckeyes who left victorious, 74-62.
Ohio State kept Wisconsin at arms-length all game long, as the Badgers fall to the Buckeyes 74-62.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
EJ Liddell led all scorers with 20 points, while Wisconsin was only 7-28 from three at the Kohl Center.
Ohio State jumped out to an early 9-3 lead in the first few minutes, while sophomore Tyler Wahl was pushed to the bench with two fouls at the media timeout after starting his third consecutive game.
The Buckeyes kept a six point advantage into the under 12 timeout as well, despite some improved offense by the Badgers with Nate Reuvers finding his shot early. The gap widened fairly quickly though, as Ohio State continued to pour in mid-range jumpers, while the Badgers went on a three minute scoring drought.
Ohio State held a 10-point lead at the final media timeout of the first half with a balanced scoring attack, but over the final three minutes Wisconsin was able to narrow the deficit slightly as D’Mitrik Trice scored five straight points to close the half.
Halftime. Ohio State up 32-25.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
OSU shooting 46% from the field, while the #Badgers only 33% on FGs, and 20% from 3.
Trice leading all scorers with 9 points.
All things considered to only be down seven is not too shabby.
To open the second half, Wisconsin was able to cut into the lead for a brief second, but Ohio State stormed back to keep the advantage in double-digits. This trend would continue for the first five minutes of the half, as Ohio State made six of seven shots during the same span in which the Badgers began making a run of their own.
Both teams would continue to exchange buckets over the course of the next five minutes, as Wisconsin did most of their damage by driving inside on the Buckeyes and converted on multiple and-one opportunities.
Aleem Ford made three three-pointers in a row for the Badgers to tighten things with 3:40 remaining, but ultimately Ohio State would answer quickly to get it back to eight points with two minutes to play.
The Buckeyes would finish strong with their free throws however, and take down the Badgers 74-62.
Notable stat lines:
- Aleem Ford —> 13 points (4-of-10 from the floor), seven rebounds, one assists
- D’Mitrik Trice —> 12 points (4-of-8 from the floor), four rebounds, eight assists
- Nate Reuvers —> 11 points (5-of-9 from the floor), three rebounds, one block
- E.J. Liddell —> 20 points (7-of-12 from the floor), seven rebounds, one block
ALEEM FORD!!! HOLY SHIT!— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
Three things that stood out:
No. 1: Shooting
Wisconsin had multiple extended scoring droughts against Ohio State. In the first half alone the Badgers had two droughts that exceeded three and a half minutes, as Ohio State was fairly consistent all half long from the field.
Wisconsin actually did alright on the defensive end against the Buckeyes in the paint, but Ohio State was able to make their jump shots at a high rate all half long.
Wisconsin has missed 22 three-pointers in this game, and made 23 shots total.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
Not a great recipe.
In the second half, the Badgers shot much better from the field, but could not buy a basket behind the arc until Aleem Ford made three in a row late in the second half. Ohio State on the flip side was able to score at will throughout the game, shooting 50.9% in the first half and 56% in the second.
Wisconsin struggled throughout the game offensively, and in a tough contest in the Big Ten that can’t be the case if you want to secure a win. The Badgers continue to struggle at finishing inside, and have relied heavily on three point shooting all year long. With the shots not falling from deep (21 misses from three), the end result was not unexpected.
No. 2: Foul trouble
In the first half both Tyler Wahl and Micah Potter dealt with foul trouble. The two starting forwards combined to play only 15 minutes, and because of that only added three points on 1-of-3 shots. Not having two of the more important players on the roster available, hampered the offense in the first half.
Tyler Wahl was only on the court for 90 seconds in the second half before picking up his third foul, which once again sent him to the bench.
Wisconsin was able to get things going once Wahl returned from his stint on the sidelines in the second half, but Ohio State had an answer for everything the Badgers threw at them all game long.
Both D’Mitrik Trice and Tyler Wahl would finish the game with four fouls, while Micah Potter, Brad Davison, and Jonathan Davis each had three.
Tyler Wahl has now played seven minutes and has three fouls. pic.twitter.com/jDSCOAqoM6— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
No. 3: Energy differential
Ready for this conversation again?
Wisconsin was once again much more passive than their opponent, as the Buckeyes were the aggressors all game long. The Ohio State bench was up and active all game long, and as a result the team played with an energy that propelled them to win over the Badgers.
Wisconsin is one of the more experienced teams in the Big Ten, and for a lack of composure and energy to continue to pop up in multiple games this season, there is no excuse. The Badgers were outplayed by Ohio State on Saturday afternoon, and there was not an end of the court that went great for Wisconsin.
Every loose ball has gone Ohio State's way. While that is dependent on luck to a certain degree, Wisconsin has not been nearly as aggressive as the Buckeyes all game long.— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) January 23, 2021
Up next: The Badgers will take their talents on the road for a chance at revenge against the Maryland Terrapins on Wednesday evening. Tip-time is scheduled for 8 p.m. CST, and it can be seen on the Big Ten Network.