MADISON – Wisconsin and Ohio State started Big Ten play on Saturday afternoon. Ohio State shot the lights out on their way to an easy victory in the Kohl Center, 83-58. Wisconsin has now dropped two straight, and five of their last six.
It’s not very often the Badgers get embarrassed in the Kohl Center. On Saturday, that’s exactly what happened, prompting fans to leave the building noticeably early in the second half. At some points, the Buckeyes were scoring so easily that players were laughing as they were running back to the defensive end. The Buckeyes led by as much as 35.
The Badgers’ previous record for the worst home loss was 17 in 2000 at the hands of Michigan State. Ohio State beat that record with ease on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Badgers by 25.
“I think the easiest thing to say is we didn’t come with enough energy,” Ethan Happ said. “We need to come more prepared to play. Going back to this summer, we’ve played tough and together and we didn’t do either of those things tonight.”
The Buckeyes shot 31/47 from the field. The Badgers couldn’t defend anyone with four Buckeyes scoring in double-figures. Kaleb Wesson led the way with 19 points. Keita Bates-Diop added 17, Jae’Sean Tate 16, and C.J. Jackson chipped in 10.
Not only did the Badgers get destroyed from the outside, OSU outscored Wisconsin in the paint 36-12.
“Obviously it was a very disappointing performance, specifically the first 30 minutes,” head coach Greg Gard said. “It seemed like we were lifeless for a large part of the first half.”
Ohio State dominated the entire first half, leading by double-digits for the majority of the half. The Badgers started painfully slow, making only two of their first 13 shot attempts. On the other end, the Buckeyes could not miss. OSU started out 7/7 from the three-point line with the majority being completely uncontested.
Not only did the Buckeyes shoot it well, they hit their threes as the Badgers tried to claw back. D’Mitrik Trice hit a three to cut the Badgers deficit to eight, but the Buckeyes would hit two straight threes to push their lead back up to 14.
Ohio State led by 23 points at the break. Musa Jallow slammed home a fastbreak dunk putting the Buckeyes up by twenty, which felt like the moment when the Kohl Center knew the game was unofficially over.
If any Wisconsin fans were holding out hope, it was quickly evaporated when OSU went on a 12-2 run to start out the second half.
Ohio State sent doubles at Ethan Happ all night, something he has become accustomed to seeing, but the All-American struggled to execute against it more than previous outings. Happ finished with just seven points and four turnovers.
Greg Gard started Brevin Pritzl for Khalil Iverson in the second half. Iverson, who has started every game, started out the game 0/5 from the field, after scoring zero points in Monday’s loss to Virginia.
Nate Reuvers was one of the very few bright spots for Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon. Reuvers scored his first bucket, hit a pair of threes and scored 10 points total. Brad Davison led the team with 16, and Kobe King chipped in 10. The freshmen accounted for 67 percent of the Badgers points.
Wisconsin plays at Penn State on Monday night at 6 p.m.