Riding three straight wins, Ohio State men’s basketball seemed to find the eye of the Big Ten storm to open February.
But Wisconsin (14-10, 7-6 Big Ten) proved that no team is safe in the nation’s deepest conference, raining 12 3s on the Buckeyes (15-8, 5-7) to capture a 70-57 blowout win at home Sunday.
Tied 15-15 past the midway mark in the first half, everything changed when Ohio State junior forward Kaleb Wesson sat down with two early fouls.
From the 7:47 mark, Wisconsin outscored the Buckeyes 23-5 to head into halftime up 38-20 to close the opening period on a 16-0 run. Kaleb Wesson spent all but the final 90 seconds of the run on the bench.
The Buckeyes would never recover.
Ohio State started the second half with a 7-0 run, and sophomore guard Luther Muhammad scored seven of the first 11 Buckeye points in the half, but the comeback attempt was snuffed out with an 8-0 run from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin redshirt senior guard Brevin Pritzl hit his fifth straight 3 of the day with just under 11 minutes to play to extend the Badgers’ lead to 56-33.
Pritzl finished the game with a season-high 19 points off the bench, shooting 5-of-6 from deep.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said prior to the game he expected the matchup to end with a score in the 50s, but the Badgers hit the 60-point tally with 8:43 left to play. The Buckeyes didn’t make it to 40 for another 1:19.
The stretch that broke it open for Wisconsin to end the first half was engineered by five Badger 3-pointers, including two each from Pritzl and redshirt junior guard D’Mitrik Trice.
The backcourt duo found each other open from long range on three consecutive possessions in just over a minute of action at the end of the half, and following Trice’s second 3 with 47 seconds remaining, the Badgers had a commanding 16-point lead.
The Buckeyes didn’t score in the final 4:37 of the half, and Kaleb Wesson scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field. He finished with eight points.
Ohio State turned the ball over nine times in the opening half and shot just 32 percent, including a combined 4-for-17 from Kaleb Wesson, redshirt junior guard CJ Walker and sophomore guard Duane Washington.
No Buckeye shot a free throw in the first 20 minutes, and senior forward Andre Wesson was the lone Ohio State player to score more than four points, hitting on 3-of-4 shots for a team-leading nine points. Andre Wesson was the only Buckeye to score in double digits, finishing with 11 points.
In the final three minutes of the game, a jumper from Walker cut the Badgers’ lead to 12, but a subsequent 3 from Wisconsin junior forward Nate Reuvers kept it well out of reach.
Ohio State returns home to play Rutgers Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Schottenstein Center.