COLUMBUS, Ohio — The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team took away Deshaun Thomas’ 3-point shot Tuesday night.

But that’s about the only thing the Badgers stopped the Ohio State junior forward from doing during the No. 11 Buckeyes’ 58-49 victory in a Big Ten Conference game at Value City Arena.

Thomas played a huge role in a 15-0 run by Ohio State in the second half and finished with a game-high 25 points on 10-for-17 shooting.

“That’s easily the best player we’ve played as far as how he can get his own shots,” UW coach Bo Ryan said. “Thomas was good. We did take his 3s away, because he’s been hitting some 3s, so we thought OK, but he was tough on the two-point jump shots, real tough. And he can attack (because) he’s so strong.”

Sophomore guard Traevon Jackson had 12 points and senior forward Jared Berggren added 11 for UW, which didn’t attempt a free throw for the first time in Ryan’s 390 games coaching the Badgers.

That was just one indicator of how much Thomas and the Buckeyes (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) dominated in the paint.

Ohio State finished with a 34-14 advantage in points in the paint. Thomas had 16 in that area to outscore the Badgers by himself.

Thomas, who had a game-high four assists, also hit some tough jumpers and was 5-for-6 from the line. Thomas only attempted one 3-pointer — he came into the game averaging six attempts from behind the arc in league play — but that didn’t stop the Big Ten’s leading scorer from scoring at least 20 points for the 11th time this season.

“He’s a good player,” said UW’s Mike Bruesewitz, who split time with fellow senior forward Ryan Evans trying to guard Thomas. “He’s going to get his. We gave him a couple easy ones that let him get going, and those tough shots become less tough just because you’re feeling it.

“That’s the type of dude you’ve got to contain early and make sure he can’t get anything easy, otherwise it’s going to be a long night for you as a defender.”

The Badgers (14-7, 5-3) shot a respectable 39.3 percent from 3-point range, making 11 of 28 attempts, but finished a horrid 33.3 percent (8-for-24) on shots from inside the arc.

Evans finished with two points on 1-for-10 shooting. He and Berggren unofficially combined for 10 shot attempts in the paint but only converted once apiece.

“We needed to finish around the basket,” Ryan said. “We had several attempts inside the paint.”

UW led 41-37 after freshman forward Sam Dekker scored on a putback with 13 minutes, 2 seconds to play in the game. But Thomas scored 10 points during a 15-0 run that put the Buckeyes in control for good.

The Badgers went nine consecutive possessions and 7:13 without scoring. UW went 0-for-7 from the field with three turnovers during that stretch.

“Just bad mistake after bad mistake,” UW junior guard Ben Brust said, “and (we) let it affect us.”

Brust, who scored all nine points on 3-pointers, summed up the difficulty the Badgers faced scoring against the Buckeyes.

“The way they play defense, when we got the throwbacks (from the post), those were good shots,” he said. “But when we didn’t get the throwbacks, what were we going to get?”

The answer, unfortunately for UW, was not much.

Brust ended UW’s drought with a 3-pointer that cut Ohio State’s lead to 52-44 lead with 5:49 remaining. The Badgers got within 55-49 on a drive by Jackson with 3:08 left, but UW came up empty on its last five possessions.

UW produced only eight points on its final 19 possessions of the game.

“They’re long and athletic and they work extremely hard,” Bruesewitz said. “That’s a pretty tough combination. But we’ve got to do a better job. We didn’t shoot a free throw. We’ve got to do a better job of getting down on the block and finishing and drawing more fouls. We just didn’t do a good enough job on that tonight.”

Jackson couldn’t get over the fact the Badgers never got to the free throw line.

“I mean, that’s crazy,” he said. “I don’t understand that. I thought we had some attacks, we just didn’t get any calls. I’m not going to complain about the refs or anything, but I’ve never played in a game where we haven’t been to the free throw line.”

Junior point guard Aaron Craft added 13 points for the Buckeyes. While the Badgers had a hard time getting good looks in the paint, it was a much different scenario for Ohio State because Craft and Thomas were able to get to the rim with ease at times.

“It’s hard to do because they’re so pack-oriented,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said of getting in the paint on the Badgers. “Their positioning defensively is really, really good. I don’t know this for certain, but I’d say we’ve never taken just five (3-pointers) against a Wisconsin team in the time I’ve been here.

“But we were able to find some seams. Aaron was tremendous in getting inside the defense.”

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(9) comments

badgerfan1
badgerfan1

The only thing more pathetic than the senior starters for this years team is the reporting about this team done by this so-called "news" service. Brusewitz tell me Thomas is good--really. Is there no more depth to reporting about why less than half their shots are in the paint and they can not even approach 50% shooting on these. Did anyone else notice that with the score tied 41-41 the Badgers put their starting lineup (Berggeren, Brusewitz, Evans, Brust, and Jackson) and then promptly stopped scoring long enough to fall behind by 10 and essentially end the game. Should someone in the press comment--noooo. Brusewitz and Evans would not be starting lineup for any team in a BCS conference. Berggeren might be a starter for a few teams because of his size--he certainly would not stay in the game if they needed points. Look these players are all nice guys and play hard, they unfortunately do not have the skill and athleticism to play at this level. I know the reason they are in is because the 2 players with skill and athleticism are freshmen and make mistakes (like Evans taking a shot is not almost always a mistake). Well this is all there is. Bo Ryan is a true double edged sword--on the one hand his discipline he insists on keeps them in games they have no business being in (Ind, Ill.), but on the other hand he for the same reason has failed to recruit players the last few years to keep Wis. competing for the top. So the games will remain ugly, hopefully we can keep them a little closer and someone will slop in a shot as time runs out (like Minn--that shot was all over the iron). I still think .500 in the leaque will be a struggle and that they will be a bubble team needing at least one win the conference tournament.

bpro
bpro

I'm still amazed these Badgers beat Indiana & at Hoosierland no less. Whoa!

BuckyUP
BuckyUP

To follow up on previous comment about controlling tempo. It makes sense to control the tempo and slow things down when you are ahead, but it drives me nuts when the Badgers are running the shot clock down when they are trailing by 8-10 with 3 minutes left. You can't be wasting time looking for the perfect shot when you are that far behind! Shoot the damn ball!

Also, can somebody please drive to the basket with some authority? You aren't going to get to the free throw line if you can't take it to the rim. Berggren was dunking over guys earlier in the season, but now he's become basically worthless inside and not much better outside..

Tito
Tito

This team just plays SO slow. 53 possessions? C'mon. Just once,I would like to have a team that didn't care about controlling tempo and just played. To do that though,you need players. Wisconsin has very few of those. So it's kind of a vicious cycle of boring,ugly basketball.
BTW,3 games in a row under 50.

saveme
saveme

This season can't end soon enough. This team is highly unlikely to do anything significant. Next year the badgers will be much better. The year after next will likely be one of the best Badger teams in recent memory.

BadgerHoops82
BadgerHoops82

Nigel Hayes and Vitto Brown can attack the basket at will and both are fearless, something surely lacking on this year's team. We will all have to be patient and wait til next year when the new recruits arrive.

badgerfan1
badgerfan1

I have heard this before--do not believe it until we see it. People were also saying how athletic and agressive Evans, Krabenhoff, Berggeren, the forward from the Chicago area (I forgot his name--he never plays. Somehow when they end up matched against top notch Big 10 players or even avg players they just can not turn the corner.

hcliff1
hcliff1

I don't watch a lot of UW basketball but Evans does not belong on that court, can anyone attack the basket?

Acapitalidea
Acapitalidea

Wisconsin seem to be comfortable scoring in the 40's, just like in the 1940's. Badgers didn't shoot a single free throw. Remember when they made more each game than their opponents shot? Evans was one for ten shooting. He's developed a new shot where he crosses through the lane and haphazardly throws the ball toward the backboard. In close he misses most of his layups Yet another cold start to the game with long scoring droughts... five and seven minutes. Ill-advised passes. Thomas and Craft made layups at will. Buckeyes' athleticism and talent showed. Badgers never lack for effort, but against bigger more physical and talented front lines they come up short most of the time, especially when the 3 point shot's not falling.

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