Only playing one game in a week means that you cannot end the week in a split. The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team made the most of their lone opportunity to obtain their biggest win of the season. The scarlet and gray upset the Wisconsin Badgers, 83-73, Thursday night on national television. The Bucks were playing for pride. Pride alone was enough.
The Buckeyes dominated the first half. After Badgers’ Vitto Brown hit a three to start the game, Ohio State went on a 13-2 run and never looked back. They didn’t trail for a single second after that run. At halftime, they held an impressive 44-31 lead.
In the second half, Ohio State led by as many as 20 with just under four minutes remaining to all but seal up the victory. The Bucks held a big lead, weathered a small storm as Wisconsin fought back, and remained on top. The scarlet and gray lead wasn’t cut to lower than nine in the final 20 minutes.
Jae’Sean Tate played like a man amongst boys for most of the night; finishing with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and two assists. He also helped contain arguably the Badgers’ two top players – Ethan Happ (four points) and Nigel Hayes (seven) – who finished just a combined 11 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. Shutting those two down for much of the game was one of the main reasons why the Buckeyes were able to pull off the upset.
Along with Tate, C.J. Jackson (18 points, four rebounds, four assists, four steals), JaQuan Lyle (17 points, two rebounds, four assists), and Marc Loving (10 points, five rebounds, one assist, two blocks) all scored in double figures as well.
Tate, Jackson, and Micah Potter (nine points, five rebounds) had some of their best games of the season. Potter played 28 minutes due to Trevor Thompson (11 minutes) being in foul trouble for much of the game. In his biggest (and most impressive) game of the season, Jackson realizes that the Buckeyes must keep this momentum going and continue playing like this in the final two games of the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament.
“The mindset from this point on is to win as many games as possible. We knew this would be a great opportunity to play against a high-quality team. We need to prepare for the next two games in the Big Ten season and the Big Ten tournament.
“As you can see, you have to come to play every game. You can’t think one game is bigger than the other. We have a good team that we’ll be playing next week and we have to get ready for that.”
Ohio States was on fire from all three areas of the court; making 50 percent of their shots from the floor, 63 percent from long distance, and 85 percent from the free-throw line. They also had just nine turnovers compared to their 12 assists. The Buckeyes’ 83 points were the most allowed by Wisconsin in conference play this season. They also dominated the boards- outrebounding the Badgers, 38-25.
Head coach Thad Matta passed the great Fred Taylor to become the schools’ all-time leader in games coached. What a way to get that milestone, right?
The only question that looms following the big time upset win over the Badgers: with the Buckeyes having no shot of hearing their name called in Selection Sunday, what if Ohio State would have played all season like they did against Wisconsin Thursday night?
Here are some highlights from the upset win:
Coming up this week:
Tuesday at Penn State (14-15, 6-10), 8:30 p.m. ET
Saturday vs. Indiana (16-13, 6-10), 12 p.m. ET