The Wisconsin Badgers (23-4, 13-2) held the Ohio State Buckeyes (17-10, 8-6) to four points in the last 8:33 of the game, edging out the Buckeyes in a tight game, 58-53.
Wisconsin's Brian Butch led the defensive effort with two crucial defensive plays down the stretch, a block on Matt Terwilligher, and a defensive stop on Evan Turner driving the lane.
Butch only played 18 minutes because of early foul trouble; however, he made plays down the stretch to put the Badgers in first place in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes' Jamar Butler scored 14 points but was only 5-14 from the field and failed to hit the big shots at the end of the game.
Butler missed two three pointers in the last few minutes of the game that would have tied the score at 56. One of the shots went in and out and the other was a desperation shot from the wing that didn’t hit anything.
The game started on an interesting note. Jamar Butler was seated on the bench.
Butler had started 95 straight games prior to Sunday’s game. The decision by Matta to bring Jamar off the bench was not disclosed.
Without Butler on the floor the offense struggled and the Buckeyes trailed 8-4 after the 1st TV timeout.
Butler came into the game after the timeout and hit his first 3 point attempt. The defensive pressure by the Buckeyes also increased after Butler entered the game.
Wisconsin's Jason Bohannon was 4-6 from 3 point range and led all scorers with 16 points.
Bohannon’s ability to hit shots over the Ohio State zone was another key ingredient to the victory on the road.
Ohio State went on a 15-4 run to take a 19-12 lead with eight minutes left in the half.
An aggressive 2-2-1 press and active zone defense confused the Badgers and forced several turnovers and bad shots.
Both teams played a sloppy first half combining for 21 turnovers. Ohio State had 10 turnovers in the first half and Wisconsin had 11 turnovers.
Coming out of the break both teams cleaned up the turnover problems. Ohio State had five turnovers and Wisconsin only had four turnovers in the second half.
Points were at a premium because of active defense on both ends of the floor.
Ohio State appeared to be in position to break the game open when John Diebler hit a three point shot at the top of the key putting the Buckeyes ahead 49-47 with 8:33 left in the game.
After 2 consecutive defensive stops the Buckeyes had the ball and were looking to increase the lead.
Flowers for Wisconsin made a leaping steal at mid-court on a Butler pass and converted the layup. This sparked a 9-0 run by Wisconsin, to take a commanding 56-49 lead with 5:08 left in the game.
Great defense by Wisconsin and poor shot selection by Ohio State down the stretch allowed the Badgers to escape with a tough win on the road.
After the game a dejected Matta said, “We had some careless turnovers that cost us, but like I told our guys eventually the baskets will go down. We just need to keep fighting.”
The Buckeyes return to action when they visit the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday night (7pm ET, ESPN).
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