What a game. The Badgers offense had to avoid scoring droughts against the Buckeyes if they were expecting to leave Columbus with a win. Although the Badgers did have two scoring droughts in the second half, they were able to fight back and come back from six and eight-point deficits.
Overall the Badgers shot the ball well - going 23-for-55 (41.8 percent) from the floor. Wisconsin also took much better care of the basketball tonight only turning the ball over seven times.
The Badgers had three players score in double figures. Jordan Taylor led the way with 19 points, Jared Berggren had 18 points and Ryan Evans had 10 points. Rob Wilson was the only player to score off the bench for the Badgers with nine points, but they came on three big 3-pointers.
Wisconsin was able to rebound the ball well against the length of the Buckeyes. Although out rebounded by four, the Badgers were able to pull down 30 rebounds and eight offensive rebounds. The Badgers were able to come up with timely rebounds when they needed to in the game. Wisconsin was able to get eight points off of their second chance opportunities.
Taylor, who had an awful game against the Hawkeyes, really bounced back and played extremely well. Not only did he lead the team in scoring but also had five rebounds and four assists. Taylor shot the ball really well going six of eight from the floor. He also came up with timely shots when the Badgers needed him to come through.
Taylor had Berggren as his sidekick tonight. Berggren, who didn't play well the first time around against Ohio State, came out determined to have a good game. Berggren was able to do some damage down low but he made his true impact from distance. Berggren was able to knock down three 3-pointers, including the go-ahead 3-point shot with 31 seconds left.
The Badgers were able to force the Buckeyes into 10 turnovers in the first half. The Badgers showed really active hands and at times forced Ohio State into some bad passes. The Buckeyes overall had 12 turnovers, resulting in 11 Wisconsin points.
Deshaun Thomas got off to a fast start - scoring 11 of the first 13 Buckeye points – but eventually cooled off a little bit. Despite finishing with a game-high 23 points, Wisconsin did a good job of making him work for the rest of his points, and made him double clutch a 3-point shot with Evans in his face that sealed OSU's fate.
The Buckeyes had three players in double figures. After Thomas, William Bufford had 15 points and Aaron Craft had 13 points. The Buckeyes shot the ball well going 23-for-49 (46.9 percent) from the floor.
Jared Sullinger was the difference maker in the last game but was a non-factor with only eight points. The Badgers were able to limit Sullinger's touches and when he did get the ball down low, it was very difficult for him to score easily.
The Badgers did a good job of limiting the Buckeyes to second chance opportunities. The Buckeyes had nine offensive rebounds and were able to get only eight points off of their second chance opportunities.
This was probably the best Wisconsin has played this season. They did a good job of taking care of the basketball (only seven turnovers) and the Badgers also shot the ball well. When it seemed like the Buckeyes were going to put the Badgers away in the second half, Wisconsin was able to find a way to come back each time.
It's really nice to see Wilson to be playing with so much confidence over the last two games. It seems like he finally has confidence in his offensive game. Hopefully he can close out his Badgers career with that same confidence that has sparked Wisconsin.
Evans went 5-for-17 and even though he struggled with his offensive game, I don't think many fans will complain about his number of shot attempts. I think the reason why is Evans' offensive game is leaps and bounds better than last year, and none of his shots Sunday were horrible. Although he only made five shots, he still ended up recording his second career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Evans also had three assists, one block and zero turnovers.
Evans came up with a great effort play late in the second half of the game. The Badgers were down 51-48 with 4:42 to go in the game. Berggren missed a three and it looked like the basketball was going to go out of bounds. Evans was able to chase after the ball, save it from going out and he was able to pass the ball to Gasser. Gasser was then able to take it to the hoop for an easy lay up, one of 20 points UW scored in the paint. In my mind, that effort play by Evans was very critical and was a key play in the Badgers victory.
The Buckeyes were able to get to the charity stripe at a higher rate than the Badgers, visiting the free throw line 19 times compared to the Badgers' 11. The difference was the Badgers made their free throws down the stretch. Aaron Craft missed two free throws with the Buckeyes up one point with a 1:19 to go in the game. Both Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren were able to knock down their free throws to help seal the victory the Badgers. Overall the Badgers went 9-for-11 from the free throw line.
Game MVP: Team. You could go with co-MVP of Jordan Taylor and Jared Berggren but this was a true team win in my mind. It started with Taylor's impressive performance and went all the way to the redshirt players. The practice players helped the starters and rotation players get prepared and get a huge road win in Columbus even though they didn't record a minute.
Taylor led the way with 19 points but Gasser had seven points and did a lot of nice things in trying to find his shot and his teammates. He had four rebounds and he didn't turn the ball over. Evans didn't have his best shooting game but was very efficient when he was out on the floor. The Badgers did a very good job of defending Sullinger and making him work for his points. As a result, UW turned him into a non-factor.
If the team plays like they did Sunday, the Badgers should be able to finish the season strong.