First loss for Buckeyes
Badgers’ victory perfectly executed
MADISON, Wis. — Nobody’s perfect.
Jordan Taylor and Wisconsin found themselves in a huge hole against previously unbeaten Ohio State, but the Badgers only needed about 13 minutes to shatter the Buckeyes’ chase at an undefeated season.
“We knew we had a run in us,’’ Taylor said.
Taylor scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half, rallying No. 13 Wisconsin from a 15-point deficit to beat No. 1 Ohio State, 71-67, yesterday and keep Division 1 without a perfect team since Indiana in 1975-76.
Taylor was the catalyst, sparking a 15-0 run with 8 straight points, then keeping the Badgers calm down the stretch.
“[He] made all the difference in the world. He came down and hit those back-to-back threes and got us right back into it, and from there you could just see we had some momentum,’’ Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer said.
Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) topped a No. 1 opponent for the first time since 1962, when it was also Ohio State. The Badgers joined Florida as the only programs to knock off the same No. 1 school in both football and men’s basketball in the same academic year. The Gators also beat Ohio State in both in 2006-07.
Fans at the sold-out Kohl Center stormed the court, just like when they rushed the field at Camp Randall Stadium following the Badgers’ 31-18 win over No. 1 Ohio State Oct. 16.
“I kind of like ours because it just happened,’’ coach Bo Ryan said.
William Buford scored 21 points for Ohio State (24-1, 11-1). Freshman Jared Sullinger made a layup to push the Buckeyes’ lead to 47-32 with 13:21 left, setting the stage for the comeback.
Mike Bruesewitz and Leuer scored 12 points apiece, while freshman Josh Gasser added 11 for Wisconsin, which won its 17th straight at the Kohl Center and improved to 150-11 at home under Ryan.
Sullinger scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds for the Buckeyes, who coach Thad Matta said have bigger objectives ahead than an unbeaten season.
“We’ll see our character of how we recover when we come back into practice,’’ Matta said.
Wisconsin was sharp from beyond the arc, hitting 12 of 24 3-pointers, but it sure didn’t look like the Badgers would be close after falling behind big.
Taylor sparked the first big run, hitting a floater and two deep 3-pointers, then Wisconsin went on another 10-0 run down the stretch to hold on.
“They had to play for that stretch damn near perfect to get us and they did,’’ Matta said. “They deserve the credit for that.’’
Taylor made a 3-pointer from the left side and added two free throws to give Wisconsin a 62-55 lead with 4:18 to play.
Jon Diebler and Sullinger each hit two free throws, cutting it to 65-63 with 58 seconds left in a last-gasp run. But Bruesewitz hesitated at the top of the arc trying to find Leuer or Taylor, and took an open three instead, hitting it to make it 68-63.
Aaron Craft then lost the ball out of bounds, and the crowd began pouring down to the lower level for the celebration.