History continues to repeat itself for Ohio State. For the third time in as many conference road games, the Buckeyes (10-7, 0-4 Big Ten) fell behind by double digits in the first half before proceeding to lose the game.
The latest occurrence of said scenario came Thursday night when Ohio State trailed Wisconsin (14-3, 3-1) by as many as 18 points in the first 20 minutes to ultimately drop the contest at the Kohl Center by a final tally of 89-66.
Wisconsin outscored Ohio State, 29-13, in the final 12-plus minutes of the first half to build a decisive 45-27 lead at halftime. Eighteen of those 29 points by the 18th-ranked Badgers came from behind the three-point line. Bronson Koenig hit three triples, Jordan Hill knocked down two and D'Mitrik Trice’s three started Wisconsin’s run.
In the first half alone, Wisconsin had 16 second-chance points off 14 offensive rebounds. The Badgers finished with 28 second-chance points off 21 offensive boards for the game. Their previous game high for offensive rebounds was 20 vs. Georgetown on Nov. 22.
To sum up the first 20 minutes for the Buckeyes, OSU was down by eight, 28-20, with less than six minutes remaining until the break. In one possession, Wisconsin missed two free throws, three shots and grabbed four offensive rebounds before Koenig eventually hit a three from the corner as the shot clock was winding down to put his team on top by 11.
Earlier in the opening period, Ohio State was down, 16-7, but went on a quick 7-0 run to pull within two points of the Badgers. A three-pointer by JaQuan Lyle was sandwiched between layups from Jae’Sean Tate and Trevor Thompson to make it a 16-14 affair with 13:33 left in the first half.
Wisconsin embarked upon its pivotal run from there.
The Badgers’ advantage only grew in the second half. Wisconsin led by as many as 32 points twice during the final 20 minutes of the game. Khalil Iverson slammed home a dunk to put his team up, 73-41, at the 11:12 mark. Kam Williams responded with a jump shot for Ohio State, but Vitto Brown hit a jumper of his own to give Wisconsin a 75-43 lead with 9:46 left in the contest. The closest the Buckeyes would get the rest of the way was 23 points when C.J. Jackson tossed in a layup with four seconds left, making the game’s final score.
The loss marked the second straight game in which Ohio State never led.
OSU had four players score in double figures. Lyle had a team-high 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Williams had 12, all of which came in the second half. Thompson added 11 while pulling down nine rebounds, and Tate had 10, which included him making all four of his free throws.
Marc Loving, Ohio State's fifth starter, had as many points as turnovers (five) for the evening.
For Wisconsin, Koenig made 5 of 7 threes to have a game-high 21 points. Nigel Hayes knocked down 7 of 12 field goals to finish with 15 points. Brown was the third and final Badger to reach double figures, contributing 12 points in 22 minutes of action.
Ethan Happ entered the game averaging 13.4 points per contest, but only had six vs. the Buckeyes. Despite the poor shooting night (3 of 10) from the sophomore forward, he had a game-best 11 rebounds.
Wisconsin held a wide advantage in terms of shooting from long distance. The Badgers connected on 12 of 22 three-point attempts (54.5 percent) while the Buckeyes made just 5 of 20 from deep (25.0 percent).
This is the first time an Ohio State team has started Big Ten play 0-4 since the 1997-98 squad opened the conference portion of its schedule with 14 straight losses, finishing the year with a 1-15 league record.
The Buckeyes now return to Columbus to take on Michigan State (12-6, 4-1) Sunday afternoon at 1:30 (ET).