(Photo courtesy http://www.mentalfloss.com & Epic Records & CBS Records)
Who remembers the beginning of the season? Up through December 29th?
The Buckeyes were 13-1 and ranked in the top ten. Then came the Big Ten Season ….
Now the Buckeyes – season done and gone – are 18-13 overall and 8-12 in Conference play.
But as disappointing as the season ended up molding itself into – Sunday’s game was an offering of positivity in the conclusion with the Wisconsin Badgers
The Badgers head-coach Greg Gard wasn’t confident if he should be pleased that his Badgers found a way to win, or just upset that his team blew a 23-point second-half lead at Columbus opening holes for review prior to the Big Ten Tournament.
Most likely, Gard firmed up on the positive outlook that his Badgers, ranked 21st nationally, rallied in overtime to take the game away from the Buckeyes 73-67.
“We’ll be fine,” Gard said. “This is a great lesson for us. It’s a better lesson than doing that and losing it. We have to look at how well we played for 33 or 35 minutes. We did some really good things, and we did some good things in overtime, too.”
The Badgers (22-9, 14-6) secured the No. 4 seed and a bye in the first two rounds of the Big Ten tournament, which starts Wednesday in Chicago.
“For this group, to do what they’ve done this year, given the predictions and prognostications, to finish fourth and get the double-bye is a heck of an accomplishment for our guys,” Gard said.
Wisconsin was up by 23 and appeared to be voyaging to a laid-back victory in the second half. But Ohio State (18-13, 8-12) went on a 27-5 run over the last seven minutes of regulation to force overtime.
Wisconsin’s defense though stepped up when the time was needed – out scoring the Buckeyes 10-4 in the spare period.
In overtime, the Buckeyes shot 1-of-5 from the field and were outscored 10-4 to give the Badgers the tightly-contested win.
CJ Jackson scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half and overtime, as well as all five of his assists.
“Backs are to the wall, and in some ways there’s more of a freedom you play with,” head coach Chris Holtmann said.
After missing its first 13 shots at the beginning of the Buckeye’s past game against Northwestern, the Buckeye’s also went onto a dismissal start against the Badgers as they roamed into a 20.7 % shooting from the field in the first half.
The Buckeyes ended the game shooting 37.9 percent for the game after hitting 18-of-32 from the field in the second half, including 8-of-14 from 3.
The defensive side of the court was notably impressive for the Buckeyes in the opening half, holding Wisconsin to 35.5 percent shooting, and limiting its highest scorer on the season, redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ, to four points on 2-of-6 shooting.
This is the third straight game where the Buckeyes scored 20 points or less in the first half. 26-16 in this thriller.
“The biggest thing was just effort, nothing offensively or X’s and O’s wise what we were doing wrong, we just went out there and had no effort,” Jackson said. “That’s why they jumped out on us big early.”
Freshman guard Duane Washington was the lone bright spot for The Buckeyes in the opening half, leading the team with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting in 12 minutes.
Washington finished with seven points, making none of his three attempts from the field in the second half.
Junior forward Andre Wesson was in foul trouble again, picking up his fourth foul of the game in the first minute of the second half.
Wesson went scoreless in the first half on five shots and ended up with five points on 2-of-9 shooting in 23 minutes after fouling out with 5:36 to play in the second half.
The Buckeyes enter the Big Ten tournament as a No. 8 seed and match up against the Hoosiers of Indiana, the No. 9 seed, at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday the 14th.
WHAT OF KALEB?:
Ohio State played and lost its third consecutive game without top scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson, who is suspended for violating athletic department policy. The Buckeyes head-coach Chris Holtmann said the Wesson situation could be addressed prior to the Big Ten tournament.
Word is he’ll be in come Thursday – Hooray!
C.J. Jackson, a senior playing his last scheduled game at Value City Arena, led the Buckeyes with 22 points.