Forward Mike Wilkinson kicked off the 3-point barrage by sinking two treys in the game's first four minutes. Moments later, guard Clayton Hanson hit one of his three deep balls, as Wisconsin stormed out to a 13-4 lead.
"Shots just went in," Wilkinson said. "We had a couple open looks and we knocked them down. We knocked them down, then came down and got stops."
The Badgers did most of their damage in the first half, hitting 6 of 7 3-pointers for a jaw-dropping 85.7 percent. That perimeter game became crucial to UW's success when Wilkinson picked up his second foul of the game just over six minutes in.
"Our hot shooting from the outside kept some distance in the first half," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. "If we didn't have that, with Mike on the bench with two, it could have been a long afternoon."
With Wilkinson and his eight points looking on from the bench, the Buckeyes mounted a rally. Ohio State tied the game at 19-19 after reeling off a 14-6 run following Wilkinson's second foul. However, Wisconsin quickly regained the momentum thanks to back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Alando Tucker, Michael Flowers and Hanson.
"They went on their run and closed the gap," Hanson said. "We needed that surge before the half to get things going."
The surge proved to be just what the Badgers needed, igniting an 18-8 UW run to close the half and propelling Wisconsin to victory. Ohio State shot just 22.7 percent from 3-point range, including a dismal 1 of 8 showing in the first half.
UW puts breaks on Dials
In the first half, Buckeye forward Terence Dials had his way with the Badger interior defense. Connecting on 7 of 9 field goal attempts, including several thunderous dunks, Dials poured in 16 points in the game's first 20 minutes.
In the second half, the story was much different, as Ryan and Wisconsin combated the Ohio State junior with a slew of defenders and by providing more backside help.
"We tried to put different bodies on him throughout the second half and when we did that we did a good job of slowing him down," Ryan said. "In the first half, he played amazing. It seemed like he caught every ball that was thrown to him and made every shot he attempted."
Thanks to the defensive adjustments, Wisconsin limited Dials to just four points on one field goal attempt in the second half.
"Any good team is going to make adjustments at halftime," Dials said. "They made adjustments and put a guy on the backside of me."
A dunk by Dials at the 9:14 mark of the first half saw him become the 42nd player in Ohio State history to register 1,000 career points.
"It's a great accomplishment, but I just can't feel good about it with the way we played," Dials said. "I'm happy for my teammates because they really helped me reach that milestone."