In the midst of a grueling stretch to begin Big Ten play, Ohio State left the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday night not only with another missed opportunity for a signature win, but also with embarrassment.
Senior guard Bronson Koenig and senior forward Nigel Hayes led Wisconsin with 21 and 15 points as the No. 18 Badgers thumped the Buckeyes 89-66, sending OSU back to Columbus with an 0-4 start in the Big Ten, the first time since 1997.
This is the third time in six meetings that OSU has lost to Wisconsin by 20 points. It was OSU’s worst defeat of the season.
OSU had four players in double figures. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle led the Buckeyes with 13 points, followed by redshirt junior guard Kam Williams with 12.
OSU had just seven assists to Wisconsin’s 19.
Koenig had 15 points at the half, followed by Hayes with 11. OSU was 2 for 10 beyond the arc, compared to the Badgers hitting 6-of-12 shots from 3 in the first half.
After halftime, somehow things got worse for coach Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.
At the first media timeout, OSU trailed 59-33. The half opened up with two 3s from senior forward Vitto Brown and then two more from Koenig. From there, the lead continued to grow. Wisconsin led by as much as 32 points.
Wisconsin made 12 of 22 shots from 3, shooting 55 percent. OSU was 5 of 20 from 3-point territory.
For the third time in four games, the Buckeyes found themselves down by double digits in the first half. A pair of 12-2 runs for the Badgers and a couple cold spells in the first half snowballed into a 40-22 lead with 3:03 left in the half.
Shooting has been another downward trend for OSU and it reared its head again on Thursday. The Buckeyes shot just 30 percent in the first half, trailing by 18 points after 20 minutes.
OSU finished the game with 12 turnovers and was outrebounded 44-31 by Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes go for win No. 1 in the Big Ten, once again, versus Michigan State at the Schottenstein Center on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.