Guard Brad Davison scored a game-high 25 points for Wisconsin (14-2, 4-1) as the Badgers outdistanced Ohio State in a 78-68 win Thursday night in Madison. With the loss, the Buckeyes fall to 10-4 on the season and 4-2 in conference play.
Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl scored 20 points and guard Johnny Davis was held in check, scoring 14 points on 4-of-18 shooting. The Buckeyes were led in scoring by EJ Liddell with 18 points. Point guard Jamari Wheeler scored 11 points and Malaki Branham, Zed Key, and Kyle Young all added 10 points a piece.
Wisconsin never trailed in the first half and the game was only tied once, and that came at 3-3 with 18:31 remaining in the first half. The Buckeyes missed all eight of their three-point attempts in the first half as Liddell was held to just four points in the game’s first 20 minutes.
The Badgers led 40-27 at the half. Wisconsin opened the second half with a three-pointer from Wahl to give them their largest lead of the game. The Buckeyes finally woke up a bit, going on an 8-0 run thanks to four layups by Liddell (twice), Wheeler, and Young. Wisconsin then did OSU one better by responding with a 9-0 run to make it 52-35 with 13:35 left in the game.
It was then Ohio State’s turn to make a run, so they went on a 14-4 spree thanks to eight points from Liddell. Three minutes later, a dish from Branham to Key for a dunk cut Wisconsin’s lead to six points at 61-55, but they could get no closer than that as the Badgers went on a 13-2 run. Ohio State again cut the lead to six points with under a minute to play but it was too little, too late.
The Buckeyes actually shot 50% from the field (30-60), but they didn’t keep up with the Badgers from three-point range. Wisconsin shot 47% from the field on the night, but their 10-of-23 performance from three-point territory provided them with consistent distance from Ohio State.
No Entry Allowed
The Buckeyes had seven turnovers in the first half and many of them came from failed attempts at entry passes into the post. And the ones that actually got through were fumbled or lost when the double team came crashing down. Ohio State has very good post players in EJ Liddell, Zed Key, and Kyle Young, but none of them are particularly long or tall. This means that the Buckeyes don’t get to practice against length and so the post defense they see in practice is usually much different than what they’ll see in an actual game. Games like this require precision passing, especially against a team with Wisconsin’s size.
Three And Out
The Buckeyes missed all eight of their three-point attempts in the first half, and then missed eight more in the second half. They did end up connecting on three second-half attempts from deep, including EJ Liddell hitting both of his attempts. For the game, Liddell went 2-for-3 from three-point range. The rest of the team went 1-for-16. Justin Ahrens had the lone make, but it took him four attempts. Jamari Wheeler missed all five of his three-point attempts. Wheeler had some decent looks, as did Malaki Branham, but confidence still appears to be an issue at times.
Meechless In Madison
Freshman point guard Meechie Johnson was unavailable for this game after suffering a facial injury in practice this week. In Johnson’s absence, Jimmy Sotos saw his first action in three games. He played nine minutes and scored two points.
[EJ Liddell header photo courtesy of the Ohio State Dept of Athletics.]