The Wisconsin Badgers suffered a 65-57 loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes at the United Center in Chicago, eliminating themselves from the Big 10 tournament, which likely concludes their season.
Wisconsin had a forgettable first half, scoring just 18 points in the first half, as opposed to Ohio State’s 36, while shooting 7/23 from the field, including six turnovers.
Tyler Wahl led a comeback in the second half with the bench, scoring eight consecutive points to cut Ohio State’s 22-point lead to 14.
From there, the Badgers wavered, going scoreless for the next 4:29 before continuing to mount their comeback, although they ultimately fell short after coming within four points several times.
Here are the quick takeaways from Wisconsin’s loss on Wednesday.
In the last matchup between the two sides, Sensabaugh played just 16 minutes, which limited his effectiveness, despite a 5/7 shooting game.
That wasn’t the case on Wednesday, as Sensabaugh had nine points in 29 minutes.
While the forward didn’t have the biggest impact for the Buckeyes, he represented how Ohio State played as a whole, as Bruce Thornton, Justice Sueing, and Sean McNeill each had strong performances, especially early on, which ultimately played a big role in the win.
They outplayed Wisconsin’s starters, who significantly struggled, as Connor Essegian, Max Klesmit, Steven Crowl, and Chucky Hepburn shot 9/34 on the day.
Point guard battle
Prior to the game, I said how vital the guard battle would be for the Badgers, and that proved to be the case on Wednesday.
After a strong, aggressive second half for Chucky Hepburn against Minnesota in Wisconsin’s 71-67 win over the weekend, the guard couldn’t get anything going, especially from three, shooting 1/9, including 0/6 from distance.
With the emphasis on the bigs, shooting was likely to be a big factor between these two teams, and both had shot fairly well from three on the season.
The shooting was a one-sided battle, as the Buckeyes hit an astounding 46.2% from three, while the Badgers hit just 4/22 from distance.
Bruce Thornton, Ohio State’s best three-pointer shooter outside of Sensabaugh, had a strong opening period, shooting 6/7 from the field, including 13 points.
Additionally, guard Sean McNeil had his way with Connor Essegian, hitting all four of his early shots for 10 points.
There are several factors why the Badgers lost this game. However, the biggest one, by far, was the physicality in the first half, which head coach Greg Gard openly acknowledged was Wisconsin’s biggest issue.
The Badgers really struggled near the rim, hitting just 13/24 layups, which came on some good looks, while the Buckeyes shot 55% within the three.
Steven Crowl was the main culprit of the struggles, as he wasn’t physical enough down low, and he committed a few turnovers on backdowns as well.
Gard thought Crowl looked “heavy-legged”, which played into his reasoning for placing his starter on the bench for more than half of the final period.
The Badgers did return the physicality in the second half, but, as seen on several occasions this year, it was too late to secure the victory.
Ohio State possessed physicality throughout, which created several opportunities off the dribble, hence the strong success rate within the arc.