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Badgers' incredible comeback falls short in a first-round loss to Ohio State

The Wisconsin Badgers almost put together a comeback for the ages in a 65-57 loss to Ohio State.

The deficit seemed insurmountable.

Trailing by 27 points in the second half, it seemed impossible for the Badgers to come back.

And the Badgers almost pulled it off but fell just short in the end.

The Wisconsin Badgers lost 65-57 to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday night in yet another heartbreaker.

It was assumed the team would need a minimum of two wins in the Big Ten Tournament to secure a bid to go dancing, but they must now sweat out these remaining few days before Selection Sunday.

The Badgers got off to a slow start, trailing 18-8 within the first 9 minutes.

However, the Buckeyes got into foul trouble early, including 5 fouls within that same span.

Luckily for Ohio State, the Badgers failed to make a field goal. They went on a field goal drought for 5 minutes until Connor Essegian hit a driving floater with under 9 minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Wisconsin, the Buckeyes continued to extend their lead, shooting 14-19 from the field while extending their lead to 32-16.

The Buckeyes knocked down 9 straight field goals from 12:35 to 3:06 in the half, while the Badgers struggled to finish layups inside the paint. This all led to a 36-18 halftime lead for the Buckeyes.

Both Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl missed multiple shots in the paint, leading to a poor 7/23 shooting from the field for Wisconsin.

Ohio State guard Bruce Thornton scored 13 points in the first half, leading all players.

Ohio State jumped out to another quick start in the second half, extending their lead to as high as 27.

Then came the “almost” comeback for Wisconsin.

The first positive moment was when Jordan Davis knocked down the Badgers' first three of the game with just over 14 minutes remaining in the second half.

This provided some spark as they put together a 9-0 scoring run to bring the game back to 50-33 with 11:49 remaining.

Big plays from Tyler Wahl helped propel the Badgers to a 14-point deficit, but the team went cold and couldn’t quite get back into the game for a stretch of play.

However, with under four minutes remaining, Chucky Hepburn, Connor Essegian, and Tyler Wahl hit massive threes to bring the game to 57-52.

From there, both teams went back and forth, bringing the game to 60-55.

Tyler Wahl had an excellent opportunity for a steal with 1:02 remaining, however, a questionable call from the officials gave the Buckeyes 2 shots at the free-throw line, where 1 of 2 was made.

Hepburn then drove for a quick layup to make it a 61-57 game with just under a minute remaining.

Ohio State’s Justice Sueing then went 1-2 at the free-throw line again making it 62-57.

On the next possession, Connor Essegian decided to drive rather than shoot a wide-open three with 37 seconds remaining.

Essegian nearly turned the ball over, but it was called a jump ball with 34.7 seconds meaning the Badgers kept possession.

Wahl missed a layup just moments later and the Badgers were forced to foul with 27.9 seconds remaining.

From there, another missed three from Wahl was the ultimate downfall of what was almost the most impressive comeback of the season.

Tyler Wahl finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Badgers while Sean McNeil finished with 17 points as the leading scorer for the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin finished shooting an awful 34.4% from the field while Ohio State shot 52.3%.

The Badgers must now hope other bubble teams struggle in their respective tournaments to have a chance on Sunday.

It was a valiant second-half effort from the Badgers, but the team fell just short yet again.