After a disastrous performance on offense against Northwestern, Wisconsin was able to shoot the ball better against Ohio State, going 18-for-45 (40 percent) from the field. Nigel Hayes led all Wisconsin scorers with 17 points and Ben Brust had 13.
What plagued Wisconsin in the last two games is going stretches without a field goal. In the first half Wisconsin failed to make a field goal in a five minute span that allowed Ohio State to crawl back into the game. The killer was the 6:44 where Wisconsin failed to make a field goal. Wisconsin's only points came from the free throw line, and during that stretch they went 4-for-10.
The Buckeyes did a good job of keeping Wisconsin out of the paint - only allowing 12 points. They were able to force the Badgers to settle for mid-range and perimeter shots. Although Wisconsin found some success with the mid-range game, they once again struggled from three, shooting 3-for-17 (17.6 percent). At times Wisconsin was able to create favorable matchups in the paint where it was Frank Kaminsky being defended by Marc Loving or a Buckeye guard, but UW couldn't get the ball to him.
Despite Ohio State's tough defense, Wisconsin did a solid job of not coughing it up with only seven turnovers. The Buckeyes were only able to create the Badgers miscues into four points.
Wisconsin was able to make life difficult at times for Ohio State by playing aggressive and getting a hand in Ohio State's face during shots. The Badgers also did a better job of not allowing Ohio State to have as much success as past teams down low in the paint, only allowing the Buckeyes 26 points.
LaQuinton Ross led Ohio State with 13 points on 3 of 6 shooting. Amedeo Della Valle was the only other OSU player in double digits with 11 points off the bench. The Buckeyes finished the game 21-for-49 (42.9 percent) from the field.
Wisconsin was able to do a good job of preventing Ohio State any second-chance opportunities by allowing nine offensive rebounds in the game. Even when the Buckeyes were able to grab an offensive rebound, Wisconsin did OK by only allowing eight points off of OSU's misses.
Wisconsin forced eight turnovers, but only converted them into four points.
Simply put the Buckeyes made more plays down the stretch. Wisconsin was better on offense but is not talented enough to survive going long stretches without scoring. Wisconsin not making a field goal in the last six minutes of the game is inexcusable. Someone has to be able find ways to make a field goal, step up in those situations and attack the glass to see if they can get to the rim or the foul line.
Even though Wisconsin failed to make a field goal, they need to do a much better job of making free throws when given the opportunity. Wisconsin got to the free throw line 29 times, but shot only 65.5 percent. What's more surprising is Wisconsin sent three of its best free throw shooters to the line and Traevon Jackson, Josh Gasser, and Brust all hit one of their two free throws.
Brust was the most surprising considering he's shooting 95 percent from the free throw line and that was his only point in the second half. It looked like Brust was out of his shooting slump, going 4-for-7 in the first half, but missed both of his shots in the second half, which were both three's.
Sam Dekker and Kaminsky both had rough games. Dekker struggled both on offense and defense, scored four points on 2-for-6 shooting, was in foul trouble in the first half and wasn't active the final 30 minutes. Kaminsky wasn't as aggressive as he should have been when he was around the basket, finishing the game 1-for-6 and went 0-for-3 from three, including a critical miss in the final minute that UW coach Bo Ryan set was a good look. Kaminsky finished the game with eight points but six of his eight points came from the free throw line.
Game MVP: Nigel Hayes. Hayes had pretty much everything working for him on offense with a team high 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting, but it is clear he still needs to work on his free throws after going 5-for-11. Hayes does a great job of getting to the free throw line by being aggressive and calling for the ball when he knows he has a favorable matchup, but he still needs to be able to find a rhythm from the free throw line. Hayes did a good job of protecting the paint and had the only block of the game for Wisconsin. He also was able to do a good job of cleaning up the glass grabbing five rebounds.