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Wisconsin men’s basketball: three things that stood out from the loss to OSU

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A look back at a trio of takeaways from the loss to Ohio State on Saturday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 11 Wisconsin at Ohio State Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team fell to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten thanks to a 73-55 loss against Ohio State on Saturday afternoon. In a tough conference like the Big Ten, games like this are bound to happen on the road, but let’s look back at what stood out from the loss in Columbus.

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Two-man game

The duo of Brad Davison and Johnny Davis have led the Badgers most of the season. The guards are No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring this season and against Ohio State it was no different. In the first half alone, the duo scored 24 of the teams 29 points and shot 58.8% from the floor. Unfortunately, the supporting cast around them struggled. In the first half the rest of the roster combined for five points on 14 shots.

In the second half, the Badgers couldn’t get anything going on offense early. The Badgers started the second stanza shooting 1-of-11, and once again it was Johnny Davis who had to come to the rescue to end a large scoring drought. Davis scored per usual but beyond him, the rest of the team was unable to convert on offense.

As a team, the Badgers need more consistent scoring from players beyond their top-two, especially on the road against tough teams. 33% from the floor and 23% from three in Big Ten play will rarely work out, especially when the defensive effort was not as strong as previous games.

No. 2: Turnovers + rebounds

Wisconsin was able to force 10 first-half turnovers vs. Ohio State and converted that into nine points. Early in the game, the Badgers were able to snag an early lead due in large part to four turnovers in a two-minute stretch, as Wisconsin was very opportunistic. When Ohio State was not turning the ball over in the first half though, they shot 58% from the floor, however.

Ohio State did a much better job of taking care of the basketball in the second half, and as a result, the Badgers did not have as much luck in transition. Additionally, Ohio State did a great job on the offensive glass all game long and that resulted in 11 second-chance points. It was not a surprise to see Ohio State win the rebounding battle overall considering how poorly the Badgers shot in the game, but the second-chance opportunities provided by offensive boards really hurt.

This was a game that the defensive effort was not nearly as effective as the game wore on, and Ohio State was able to do a lot of the little things to tilt the game in their favor.

No. 3: All-American EJ Liddell?

Make no mistake, EJ Liddell is one of the top players in the conference. He is a first-team All-Conference performer for a reason. Against the Badgers on Saturday, they had no answer for him for large stretches. The star forward made his final four shots of the first half and was up to 14 points by the intermission. Wisconsin used a variety of different players on him, but his ability to work inside and out was on full display.

Liddell finished the game scoring 28 points and adding nine rebounds, with four assists as well. He is a bonafide Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, and while Johnny Davis was also individually great on Saturday, Liddell was a big reason for Ohio State’s win.

Wisconsin v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Up next: The Badgers will be back at the Kohl Center on Wednesday, December 15 for a non-conference tilt vs. Nicholls State. The game will be aired on Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. CT.