Harris carded 29 points as the 17th-ranked Badgers rolled to an easy 69-57 win over the Buckeyes before 13,677 at VCA. The loss was OSU's sixth in its last seven games and dropped the Buckeyes under .500 for the year at 9-10.
"We didn't make plays and they did," said OSU forward J.J. Sullinger. "That's what it came down to."
Harris hit 9 of his 12 shots from the floor, including 5 of 7 from behind the three-point arc, to lead the Badgers (14-3, 5-1). UW moved back into a tie for the Big Ten lead with Indiana. Zach Morley added nine points for Wisconsin.
"He had some good opportunities," UW coach Bo Ryan said of Harris. "When he saw some openings, he did a good job of getting the ball to the rim."
J.J. Sullinger led Ohio State with 14 points, hitting 7 of 16 shots from the floor. Velimir Radinovic hit his first three shots in the first six minutes of the game and never shot the ball again, ending up with nine points and four rebounds.
"We got off to a pretty good start, but they were playing us tough in the paint," Radinovic said. "You've got to give them credit."
Tony Stockman returned from a one-game suspension and finished with six points on 2-of-8 shooting in 29 minutes.
"He didn't shoot the ball well," O'Brien said. "But Tony made a very legitimate effort to be a part of the group. We have got to get Tony feeling a little bit more comfortable about his game. He is out of whack right now a little bit."
The ugliness of the defeat can not be conveyed by the final score. OSU trailed 37-27 at halftime, then quickly fell behind by 20. OSU scored the game's last seven points to trim the final margin to 12. But the Buckeyes shot 40 percent from the floor and committed 21 turnovers.
Then, to make matters worse, after the game members of O'Brien's staff confronted a fan sitting at courtside who displayed a sign that read "This is the night the wrong Jim O'Brien resigned" (see below).
Add it all up and it was another discouraging defeat.
"That was a very good basketball team we played tonight," O'Brien said. "They were very mature and physical in the frontcourt. They have a star guard in Devin Harris. If he's not the best guard in the country he has to be one of the top few."
Ohio State opened the game and gained some quick momentum, reeling off six straight points on a Radinovic turnaround, a Stockman layup off a steal and a Radinovic layup off a feed from Terence Dials to go up 12-6 with 14:13 left in the first half. The Buckeyes enjoyed their largest lead at 15-8 when Sullinger flipped in a rebound off his own miss with 12:47 left in the half.
But the Badgers went to work and scored the next eight points on a pair of Harris three-pointers and a 16-foot jumper by Andreas Helmigk to grab a 16-15 lead with 10:36 left. OSU took its last lead at 20-18 on a spinning bank shot by Terence Dials with 9:18 left in the half.
Wisconsin outscored OSU 19-7 over the remainder of the half to go into the break with a 37-27 lead. OSU trailed just 31-27 after Stockman splashed a three-pointer with 2:10 left. But Wisconsin scored the final six points of the half, capped by Boo Wade's rebound basket with three seconds left to end the half with a 10-point lead.
"We had a chance on a pretty good attempt to get it down to two points," O'Brien said. "But we really botched the end of the first half. To go in down by 10 was a little bit discouraging."
That lead quickly doubled as the Badgers outscored OSU 12-2 in the first five minutes of the second half to go up 49-29 with 15:24 left. Harris had six points during that run, including a breakaway dunk off an OSU turnover and a run-out driving layup off an errant OSU shot.
OSU twice got the lead down to 14 after that, the last time on a Sullinger rebound basket to cut the lead to 58-44 with 7:04 left. But Wisconsin was just too tough down the stretch. The Buckeyes committed 15 of their turnovers in the second half.
A Columbus area high school student borrowing tickets from a friend's dad was sitting in the front row Endowment Club seats across from the OSU bench. As the game wound down, he displayed the controversial sign, which ushers eventually confiscated.
Following the final buzzer, OSU assistants Rick Boyages and Monte Mathis and video assistant David Egelhoff surrounded the student, who identified himself as Josh Frazier of Dublin Coffman High School.
The OSU staff members spent about one minute discussing the sign with Frazier before he turned to leave. He was then mobbed by media members.
"My sign was not appropriate, but I would say that some of their comments were much more inappropriate," Frazier said.
About 30 minutes later, reporters asked O'Brien about the incident. He initially had no comment. But then he added, "They're loyal. They probably didn't need to do that, but that's the way it is."
O'Brien was then asked if he cared whether fans brought signs like that to his team's games.
"I don't care," he said. "He can do whatever he wants. I tell you what he is not going to do is put the sign up in my face. I can tell you that."
* Wisconsin won for the 11th time in 13 games and sixth of its last seven. All six of those wins have been by double digits.
* Speaking of double digits, eight of OSU's 10 losses have been by 10 points or more.
* Terence Dials finished with seven points and eight rebounds, but he committed five turnovers for OSU. Shun Jenkins added four points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Fuss-Cheatham, coming off a 17-point game at Iowa, ended up with just two points.
* This is the latest in the season an O'Brien-coached OSU team has been under .500 overall since his first season, 1997-98, when OSU finished 8-22.
* OSU's Big Ten record of 1-5 is its worst after six games since that first O'Brien team lost its first 14 conference games on its way to a 1-15 Big Ten mark.
* OSU's home record dropped to 7-4 this season. OSU is now 75-17 all-time at Value City Arena, including 13-5 against ranked opponents.
* Ohio State still leads the all-time series against Wisconsin 80-57 with a 29-38 record in Madison and a 50-19 record in Columbus. Ohio State has gone up against nine Wisconsin teams all-time that entered the contest against the Buckeyes as a ranked team in the Associated Press top 25 poll. The Buckeyes are 5-4 in those games, including 3-1 at home.
* OSU is now 0-3 against teams ranked on game day with losses to then-No. 13 Georgia Tech (73-53) at home and at then-No. 19 Illinois (85-63). Illinois is currently unranked, while Georgia Tech is ranked 14th. Texas Tech was unranked when it defeated OSU 80-72 on Jan. 4, but is now ranked 13th.
* OSU now visits No. 21 Purdue (14-5, 4-2) Saturday at noon (ESPN-Plus Regional Syndication). The Boilermakers are coming off a tough 63-58 loss at Indiana on Tuesday.