All the familiar issues plagued the No. 5 Ohio State men’s basketball team on Friday night as the Buckeyes were stunned by the Wisconsin Badgers, 61-57, in the Schottenstein Center.
Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 22 points on 7-10 shooting, and he added 13 rebounds. Duane Washington Jr., who found himself back in the starting lineup in the absence of Kyle Young, finished with 18 points.
Wisconsin was led by a combined 30 points from Nate Reuvers and Kobe King.
The game started promising for Ohio State, which jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead thanks to seven points from Wesson.
Wisconsin’s Micah Potter, a former Buckeye who transferred last season, finally got the Badgers on the board more than six minutes into the game, cutting Ohio State’s lead to 7-2.
The two teams went back and forth for most of the first half before Wisconsin closed on an 8-0 run to take a 29-25 lead into the break. Ohio State shot 36 percent in the first half and went just 1-10 from three-point range in a scrappy, back-and-forth game that favored Wisconsin’s preferred style.
Ohio State wasted no time recapturing the lead to begin the second half, opening on an 8-2 run to take a 33-31 lead just over a minute into the period. The Buckeyes pushed the run to 13-2, upping their lead to 38-31 with 16:58 to play, as they appeared poised to stretch out the margin.
Wisconsin refused to go away, however, as it stayed within striking distance the entire way while waiting for Ohio State to falter. And falter OSU did.
King’s fast-break layup for Wisconsin tied the game at 47 with 6:32 to play, and a free throw by Reuvers got the Badgers within a single point with just over three minutes remaining.
Following a Washington miss, Reuvers’s jumper gave Wisconsin its first lead since the early stages of the second half. A three-pointer by Brevin Pritzl increased Wisconsin’s lead to 55-51 with 1:08 left in the game.
Ohio State responded with a three-pointer by Washington to get the Buckeyes back to within one, but following a pair of free throws by Wisconsin’s D’mitrick Trice to push Wisconsin’s lead to 57-54, Wesson’s three-point attempt to tie the game clanked off the rim.
Four free throws by Wisconsin finished off the upset for the Badgers, their first road win over a top-five team since 2016.
After turning the ball over 21 times last Sunday in the loss to West Virginia, Ohio State committed 14 turnovers on Friday as carelessness with the basketball continues to hurt the Buckeyes.
With the loss, Ohio State has now lost consecutive games for the first time this season as it falls to 11-3 (1-2 Big Ten). The road ahead doesn’t get any easier for the Buckeyes with trips to No. 15 Maryland and Indiana next week.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.