Game Day Grades - No.23 Ohio State

Closing the regular season with a bang, No.6 Wisconsin was efficient on both ends, coming up with a big second-half scoring run and suffocating No.23 Ohio State's talented offense, in a blowout victory in Columbus to wrap up the regular season. BadgerNation hands out the grades.

Offense: A

Wisconsin was able to find a balance on offense and consistently find ways of scoring, either down low around the basket or creating the open space for an uncontested jump shot. The one area where Wisconsin did struggle to get points from was the free throw line, as the Badgers went 3-for-3 from there (the fewest attempts this season).

Like past games, the Badgers were able to help open up other shots for the offense thanks to Frank Kaminsky’s dominance in the paint, as he was responsible for 20 of the team’s 40 points in the paint. This was Wisconsin’s third straight game where the Badgers have been able to outscore their opponent around the basket, as Wisconsin is averaging 35.3 points in the paint over the last three games.

Overall Wisconsin finished 31-62 (50 percent) from the field, the Badgers third straight game of shooting 50 percent or better. Even though Wisconsin didn’t fare as well from the 3-point line like they did against Minnesota, the Badgers were able to find ways of making the critical three when they needed to and finished the game 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) from three.

Kaminsky led all scorers with 20 points, scoring 12 of his 20 in the second half, and finishing the game 9-for-13 from the field. Bronson Koenig was second with 15 points, and Sam Dekker was third with 10 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field.

Even with the success shooting the ball, the Badgers had trouble taking care of the ball at times. Finishing the game with nine turnovers, it was the sixth straight game where Wisconsin has committed at least eight turnovers, although the Badgers finished the conference season without a 10+ turnover game.

Ohio State was only able to convert the turnovers into 11 points. Kaminsky led the way with a season-high five turnovers but no other player had more than two turnovers. Even with the Buckeyes apply pressure, Wisconsin stayed calm, worked the ball and tried to find the best shot available, finishing the game with 10 assists.

The pressure also opened up opportunities for Wisconsin to come up with 15 offensive rebounds, its most since Feb.15. Wisconsin capitalized by finishing the game with 17 second-chance points.

Defense: A

Wisconsin has consistently found a way to hold some of the better offensive teams in the Big Ten below its scoring average and offensive field goal average. Entering today’s game against Wisconsin, Ohio State ranked second in points (76.9) and first in field goal percentage (49.3 percent).

But like the games against Michigan State and Minnesota, the Badger defense was able to clamp down and held Ohio State to a season-low 48 points and just holding Ohio State to a season low 48 points and only 34 percent from the field.

Plenty of credit goes to the defense on freshman D’Angelo Russell who needed 18 shots to lead Ohio State with 17 points. Russell also could never dial it in from 3-point range – finishing 1-for-7. Jae’Sean Tate and Shannon Scott finished the game with 13 and 10 points, respectively, as the trio combined for 40 of Ohio State’s 48 points.

Wisconsin didn’t foul often against the Buckeyes (11 team fouls) but it was the first time in Big Ten play where Wisconsin had more team fouls then its opponent, as Ohio State finished the game with nine. Overall Ohio State finished the game 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the free throw line.

The Buckeyes could do little when Nigel Hayes – one of UW’s best rebounders – was on the floor. After notching seven offensive rebounds in the first half with Hayes sitting for a good portion with foul trouble, Ohio State could barely generate second chances in the second half and had only two offensive rebounds. Hayes finished the game with six of his eight rebounds coming on the defensive glass.

Overall: A

Wisconsin quickly took control of the game early and built a 14-point lead going into halftime. Although starting the game 2-for-13, the Buckeyes managed to cut the lead to seven points within the first seven minutes of the second half. Stuck in a four minute, 29 second scoring drought, Koenig was able to knock down a critical three that started a 20-2 Wisconsin run.

Even with Ohio State making a fierce comeback, the Badgers answered the bell by finishing the game 13-for-24 from the field, resulting in Wisconsin ending the game on a 26-9 run.

The bench played a critical role helping Wisconsin consistently score points in the first half and get off to another strong start. The Badgers shot 15-for-29 (51.7 percent) from the field in the first half, with the bench scoring 12 of its 14 points. Dukan led all bench scorers with seven points on 3-for-9 shooting from the field in 23 minutes. It was Dukan’s most points since the home win over Iowa (eight points). Despite Dukan not having a great shooting percentage, he was able to score his seven points in a span of 2:43 and register four rebounds.

Brown was second with four points, scoring a bucket in each half, to go along with four rebounds and one block. Zak Showalter finished the game with three points, scoring his points after finding a driving lane, converting at the rim and drawing a foul.

This was the first time this year the Wisconsin bench outscored its opponents bench from the Big Ten, as Ohio State only finished with two points. It was Wisconsin’s highest total bench points since Feb.3.

Game MVP: Bronson Koenig. Koenig was critical down the stretch after the Buckeyes cut the lead to seven. The sophomore guard was able to start the Badger’s impressive run by scoring the team’s first eight points of its 20-2 run, hitting 3-pointers on consecutive possessions. The second 3-pointer was a result of the Badgers grabbing three offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive. The third bucket showed Koenig’s ability to attack the lane and finish with a layup.

Overall, Koenig, who also had two rebounds, two assists and two turnovers, was able to score 12 of his 15 points in the last part of the second half on 5-for-7 shooting and 2-for-2 from three. His shooting helped Wisconsin break a scoring slump and add another solid win to UW’s resume.

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