With their star player in the lineup this time and the Badgers missing theirs, the Buckeyes knocked off their second top-15 team in a row and earned a 60-51 victory on their home court.
It did not take long for OSU to show how it planned to attack. With Wisconsin playing without leading rebounder Jon Leuer and his 15.4 points-per-game average, the Buckeyes went right for the void left by his 6-10, 240-pound frame.
"He's 6-10, so not having him in the paint is helpful for other teams," OSU junior forward David Lighty said. "He can alter shots. He's a real good player. Not having (him) makes them a different team."
The Buckeyes shot 52.2 percent (24 for 46) from the floor and all but six of those shots came from inside the three-point arc. In their loss Wisconsin earlier this season, OSU was 14 for 43 (36.2 percent) and 4 for 13 (30.8 percent) from three.
With the win, the Buckeyes (13-5, 3-3 Big Ten) avenged a 65-43 loss to the Badgers that opened conference play for both squads. In that game, Turner was on the sidelines as he recovered from broken vertebrae in his back and Leuer was scoring 11 points in 18 minutes of action.
He was held to 15 points and one rebound while being saddled with foul trouble for much of the game. In his place, the Buckeyes played stout defense and got contributions from a number of players. Lighty led the way with 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.
"I'd call it a great team win from the standpoint of the foul trouble we were in," head coach Thad Matta said.
Although Wisconsin (14-4, 3-2) never quite went away, it never got closer than seven points down in the final 13 minutes of action while OSU's balanced scoring attack led the way. Only six players scored for the Buckeyes, but each had at least six points.
On a night when he struggled offensively, making 3 of 12 shots and finishing with seven points, Buford pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
"I was going after them because my shot wasn't falling," he said. "I felt that I had to do something else to help the team out."
The Badgers struggled to get good looks inside without Leuer in the lineup, and for that head coach Bo Ryan credited a few factors.
"(Dallas) Lauderdale's pretty long," the coach said. "He guarded the post pretty well. He's a presence in the middle just like other big guys that we've played against. Sometimes when you're real physical and using your hands a lot and doing things on the passer, that can affect whether or not you can touch the post. You've got to be able to fight through it"
Not only did the Buckeyes play the final 14:16 of the first half without Turner, but they went into the locker room sporting a 12-point lead thanks to his supporting cast – and Lighty in particular.
OSU increased its lead to 27-20 on a drive by Lighty with 4:09 left, but the junior was just getting started. He would hit on another drive, convert a pair of free-throws and drain a three-pointer from the top of the circle that seemed to touch the rafters to close out a personal 9-2 run that set the halftime score at 34-22.
The last Wisconsin basket of the first half came on a three-pointer by Jason Bohannon at the 5:19 mark – his second on as many possessions. He would also add a pair of free-throws with 3:39 remaining, but the Badgers went 0-4 from the field, missed the front end of a one-and-one and committed a turnover the remainder of the way.
They even got a chance to get the final shot of the half after Lighty was called for an offensive foul with 2.1 seconds left, but Trevon Hughes could not corral the inbounds pass and never got a shot off.