MADISON, Wis. – Ohio State’s latest defeat was more than just disappointing to coach Thad Matta. It left him at a loss to explain what’s wrong with his team.
No. 20 Wisconsin shot a season-best 53 percent Sunday in a 71-49 rout of the 13th-ranked Buckeyes. It was the third defeat in four games for Ohio State, with the lone win a lackluster performance against Northwestern.
It didn’t work in terms of getting this team not to win the game, but to compete at the level we need to compete at to give us a chance, Matta said about how he prepared his team.
It was a dramatic turnaround offensively for Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4 Big Ten) after Thursday, when the Badgers went scoreless over the final 5 minutes in regulation and then managed just four points in overtime while losing at Minnesota.
The 39 first-half points tied their best opening period in Big Ten play this season and were only 10 fewer than the Badgers scored for the entire game at Ohio State in a Jan. 29 loss.
Matta said it was just one of those games when the Badgers could do no wrong, perhaps best summed up in the second half when Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson banked in an off-balance shot as the clock shot expired.
Even so, Matta said he had no explanation for how poorly Ohio State (18-7, 8-5) played on defense.
We’ve seen the results if we’re not going to play defensively. We’re not a good basketball team, Matta said. If we’re going to rely on trying to outscore people, that’s not going to happen.
The win kept Wisconsin tied with Michigan for third in the conference, two games behind leaders Indiana and Michigan State. Ohio State dropped into fifth place.
No. 4 MICHIGAN 79, PENN STATE 71: In Ann Arbor, Mich., Trey Burke scored a season-high 29 points and freshman Glen Robinson III matched a career high with 21 to help the Wolverines (22-4, 9-4 Big Ten) bounce back from an embarrassing loss.
Michigan had dropped three of its previous four games, including a 23-point loss Tuesday night on the road against No. 8 Michigan State, and needed a half to shake off the slump.
The Nittany Lions (8-17, 0-13) led by as many as eight points in the first half. They went ahead 7-plus minutes into the game and had the lead until Burke made a game-tying, off-balance fadeaway with 55 seconds left in the first half.
IOWA 72, MINNESOTA 51: In Iowa City, Iowa, Devyn Marble and Aaron White each had 15 points as the Hawkeyes (17-9, 6-7 Big Ten) shrugged off an early 16-point deficit and extended their conference winning streak to three for the first time in six years.
Freshman Mike Gesell added 11 for the Hawkeyes.
Austin Hollins had 14 points for the Gophers (18-8, 6-7).
ILLINOIS 62, NORTHWESTERN 41: In Evanston, Ill., D.J. Richardson scored 18 points to lead the Illini (19-8, 6-7 Big Ten), to their fourth straight win.
Tracy Abrams added 13 points off the bench for the Illini.
Snider graduate Reggie Hearn led Northwestern (13-13, 4-9) with 11 points.