MADISON – The Badgers shook off their loss to Purdue by absolutely throttling Ohio State, 89-66. Bronson Koenig went full human torch mode as he hit five threes for 21 points. The Badgers led the Buckeyes in virtually ever statistical category on their way to the 16th straight victory for the Badgers in the Kohl Center.
The Badgers had a masterful offensive performance, shooting 49% while committing just eight turnovers.
The Badgers hurried out to an early 16-7 lead by punishing OSU inside. Out of Wisconsin’s first 16 points, 14 of them came from in the paint. All six of Nigel Hayes’s first points came from post moves and finishes at the rim. Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown both had a pair of baskets from inside. Ohio State would rip off a 7-0 run, led by Trevor Thompson and JaQuan Lyle.
D’Mitrik Trice, who has hit shots when the Badgers need them all year, stopped the run by converting a three-pointer from the left wing. Trice’s three would spurt a Badger run of their own (that would basically last all game long). Following his lead, senior Jordan Hill shot a three from the corner that went as far down the basket as possible without going down. The next possession, Hill fired a deep three that decided to go down this time, giving the Badgers a 22-16 lead.
After the aerial attack from the perimeter, the Badgers got back to the paint to extend the run. Koenig finished two shots at the rim, pushing the lead up to ten, 26-16. Koenig would attack the paint again, this time forcing a foul. Koenig sunk both free throws, pushing the run to 12-2. OSU went scoreless for five minutes during the run.
“I missed my first three shots but I tried not to get down on myself,” Koenig said. “I stayed aggressive.”
The Badgers blew the lid off of the building as their senior stars, Hayes and Koenig, continued to make plays. Koenig hit a three from the corner, that was eerily similar to his big shot against Xavier in the NCAA Tournament, as the shot clock hit zero. Hayes then followed that up with an and-one fast break layup. Things got really out of hand when Koenig hit his second three of the game, followed by Hill’s second three of the game. Ohio State, with the snap of a finger, found themselves in a major hole as the Badgers led 40-22.
“He took what was there,” Gard said of Jordan Hill’s two threes. “He did what he does well. He’s a good shooter, and water always finds its level.”
The Badgers went into halftime with a healthy 45-27 lead. Koenig and Hayes both were in double figures. Koenig had 15 points on three threes, and Hayes had 11. Lyle had 10 points for the Buckeyes. The Badgers outplayed the Buckeyes about as well as you can outplay an opponent. The Badgers had the edge in all of the following categories: three-point shooting, points in the paint, rebounding, and second chance points. The Badgers only turned the ball over once.
If there was any hope for Ohio State after the break, it was quickly evaporated by Vitto Brown and Bronson Koenig. Both seniors hit a pair of threes to start the second half, and the game could have been called right then and there.
The Badgers lead hit 30 points after a beautiful half spin by Nigel Hayes on his way to an easy dunk. Hayes’s 15th point of the game put the Badgers up 63-33. Hayes would finish with 15 points, three rebounds, and four assists.
The Badgers largest lead would be 32, which came on the play of the game. Zak Showalter had a beautiful alley-oop pass to Khalil Iverson who slammed it down with authority.
Ohio native Vitto Brown had one of his best games of the year. The senior forward had 12 points and five rebounds and went 2/4 from beyond the arc.
“I was thinking about giving up the game after Purdue,” Brown joked. “I was going to give up the game.”
Overall, it was a dominating performance over the Buckeyes, one of the best Badger games of the year. The Badgers shot 12/22 from the three-point line but were still manage to outscore OSU in points in the paint 42-22.
The Badgers will face the Michigan Wolverines next Tuesday at 8:00 P.M.