Ohio State nips top-ranked Wisconsin; takes Big Ten title
Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – Mike Conley Jr. hit a shot while leaning in
the lane with 3.9 seconds remaining and Ron Lewis rejected Kammron Taylor’s
jumper at the buzzer, as No. 2 Ohio State won the Big Ten regular season title
by edging top-ranked Wisconsin, 49-48, in a dramatic finish at Value City
Ivan Harris had 13 points, while Conley and Greg Oden each scored 11 for the
Buckeyes (26-3, 14-1 Big Ten), who secured their 13th win in a row overall,
including 12th straight in the conference. It was also Ohio State’s 25th
consecutive home win, moving the Buckeyes to an incredible 50-3 in Columbus
under head coach Thad Matta.
Because of the victory, the Buckeyes are expected to be ranked No. 1 come
Monday for the first time since 1962. Sunday marked their second straight Big
Ten regular season title.
“You enjoy this because it is something we set out to achieve and we did it,”
Matta said. “But, we play Michigan Saturday. For our guys to be sitting at
14-1 in the Big Ten, this is a tremendous feat.”
Alando Tucker ended with 12 points, Jason Bohannon 11 and Taylor 10 for the
Badgers (26-4, 12-3), who suffered their second straight defeat and will
fall hard from the No. 1 spot, especially since they lost on Tuesday, 64-55,
at Michigan State.
“We didn’t try to keep it a certain score,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “We
tried to take good shots every trip down the floor.”
The Badgers took the lead just inside of a minute left on their fourth try of
a possession. Bohannon, Jason Chappell and Tucker all missed shots, but
Flowers got the final offensive rebound, and after a timeout, Tucker’s layup
made it 48-47.
Chappell then rejected Lewis, and Bohannon got the rebound for the Badgers.
Ohio State then committed four fouls to get Wisconsin to the foul line, and
Taylor missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 20.3 seconds left.
After an OSU timeout, Conley darted into the lane to hit his floating shot.
Taylor then dribbled the ball to the right of the lane, but Lewis reached with
his left hand to reject the shot, capping the incredible 1-2 matchup.
“This is what we wanted to do,” Oden said. “When I came here I wanted to win a
Big Ten championship. At the same time I know we still we have work to do with
the NCAA tournament and the Big Ten tournament.”
Wisconsin center Brian Butch suffered a right elbow injury in the first half
and had his arm in a sling.
Greg Stiemsma’s jumper boosted the Badgers to a 15-9 lead midway through the
opening half, but the Buckeyes rallied by scoring the next 10 points, capped
by Harris’ jumper with 5:31 left. Ohio State led 25-22 at intermission.
The momentum shifted a few times in the second half. Daequan Cook’s jumper had
the Buckeyes in front 34-29, but Flowers’ layup moved Wisconsin to a 46-42
advantage with 3:43 remaining. Conley then hit a jumper and Oden’s jam and
three-point play sent the Buckeyes to a 47-46 edge with 2:47 left.
Wisconsin shot 35.1 percent from the field…This marked the first time Big
Ten teams have met in a 1 vs. 2 contest…This is the first set of back-to-
back outright regular-season championships for Ohio State since the Buckeyes
won three in a row, 1960-62. The last Big Ten team to win back-to-back titles
was Illinois in 2004 and 2005…The Buckeyes are 8-9 all-time when taking on
the nation’s No. 1 team…The last time the Buckeyes were held to under 50
points and won was Jan. 7, 1982, when they defeated then-No. 6 Minnesota,
49-47, at home.