Deshaun Thomas scores 25 points, No. 11 Ohio State tops Wisconsin
Columbus, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Junior forward Deshaun Thomas fired 10 of his 25 points in the second half to break the game wide-open and help No. 11 Ohio State overcome a tough challenge from Wisconsin, 58-49, Tuesday at Value City Arena.
The Badgers were ahead, 41-37, when Lenzelle Smith Jr. sparked the back-breaking run with a jumper and Thomas followed with three jumpers for a 45-41 advantage.
LaQuinton Ross added a triple and Thomas added a layup and a jumper to give the Buckeyes a 52-41 advantage they kept until the final buzzer en route to their 16th win in 20 outings.
The victory improved the Buckeyes to third place in the Big Ten with a 6-2 mark.
Aaron Craft added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Buckeyes, who have won four of the last six meetings with the Badgers and has three victories in the last four at home.
“I think his growth would rank at the top. Evan Turner grew a lot as well in his career, and it’s always great to see them turn into men. I think he was offensively efficient [tonight] and he was high on his shot,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said of Thomas.
Ohio State shot 51.1 percent from the field, becoming only the second opponent to shoot over 50 percent against the Badgers this season after Florida shot 61.9 percent.
The Buckeyes had a commanding 34-14 advantage in points scored in the paint and outrebounded Wisconsin, 32-26.
Wisconsin did not attempt a single free throw in the game, a first in program history. The previous low attempts in a game for the Badgers were two vs. Coppin State in 2008.
Wisconsin averaged 16 free-throw attempts per game entering Tuesday’s contest.
Wisconsin scored 23 second-half points. Ohio State has held opponents under 25 points in 14 total halves this season.
Ohio State, trailing 41-37 at the 13:00 mark of the second half, took control with a 15-0 run that covered 6:15 of play. Wisconsin was held to 0-of-6 shooting during the run.
Traevon Jackson scored 12 and Jared Berggren added 11 points and nine boards for the Badgers, who dropped to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten.
“We’ve done it to other teams and we’ve had other games where we took only one or two, but Ohio State played well defensively,” coach Bo Ryan said.