MADISON, Wis. (AP) — E.J. Liddell scored 20 points and No. 15 Ohio State never trailed in a 74-62 victory over No. 10 Wisconsin that continued the Buckeyes’ recent road mastery of ranked opponents.
Ohio State (12-4, 6-4 Big Ten) has beaten Top 15 teams in each of its last three road games to underscore the conference's lack of a true homecourt advantage this season with no spectators due to the pandemic.
The Buckeyes beat then-No. 15 Rutgers on Jan. 9 and then--No. 14 Illinois on Jan. 16. Illinois is now 22nd and Rutgers unranked.
Wisconsin (12-4, 6-3) lost for just the second time in its last 20 home games. The Badgers’ only other home loss during this stretch was a 70-64 decision Dec. 28 against Maryland.
Aleem Ford scored 13 points to lead Wisconsin, which also got 12 from D'Mitrik Trice and 11 each from Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. Seth Towns scored 10 points for Ohio State.
Ohio State led by 13 in the second half, capitalizing on Wisconsin’s poor outside shooting.
Wisconsin had gone just 4 of 21 from 3-point range until Aleem Ford made three straight shots from beyond the arc in a span of less than two minutes. Ford’s third 3-pointer cut Ohio State’s lead to 62-58 with 4:40 left.
Ford finally cooled off and missed a 3-point attempt that would have reduced the margin to one with 4:02 remaining. Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. hit a pair of free throws 22 seconds later to start a 6-0 run that essentially put the game out of reach.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes got a boost from the return of CJ Walker, who had missed four games with an injured right hand. Ohio State also showed it could win even without getting huge production from Washington, who scored nine points but shot just 1 of 9. Washington entered the day with a team-high 15.7 points per game.
Wisconsin: The Badgers entered the day leading the Big Ten in scoring defense (61.4) and ranked second in the league in field-goal percentage defense (.398), but they couldn't stop Ohio State at critical times. The Buckeyes made seven of their first nine shots in the second half to build a double-digit edge. Ohio State shot 50.9% from the floor.
Ohio State's ability to bounce back from a 67-65 home loss to Purdue should assure that the Buckeyes stay in the top 20. Wisconsin figures to fall out of the top 10.
Ohio State: Hosts Michigan State on Jan. 31.
Wisconsin: At Penn State on Wednesday night.
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