COLUMBUS — Ohio State played seven minutes of inspired basketball Sunday against No. 21 Wisconsin.
It needed five more.
The Buckeyes overcame a 22-point deficit over the final seven minutes to force overtime, only to fall 73-67 in their regular-season finale at Value City Arena.
Wisconsin (22-9, 14-6 Big Ten) appeared to be cruising to an easy win in the second half, but Ohio State (18-13, 8-12) closed regulation on a 27-5 run.
In overtime, however, the Badgers’ defense held tough as they outscored the Buckeyes 10-4.
“We made it way more interesting than I ever wanted it to be,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said.
Gard wasn’t sure whether to be mad at his players for blowing such a big lead or happy they found a way to win.
He settled on a positive outlook.
“We’ll be fine,” Gard said. “This is a great lesson for us. It’s a better lesson than doing that and losing it. We have to look at how well we played for 33 or 35 minutes.
“We did some really good things, and we did some good things in overtime, too.”
Wisconsin snagged the No. 4 seed and a bye in the first two rounds of the Big Ten Tournament, which starts Wednesday in Chicago.
“For this group, to do what they’ve done this year, given the predictions and prognostications, to finish fourth and get the double-bye is a heck of an accomplishment for our guys,” Gard said.
Ohio State lost its third consecutive game without top scorer and rebounder Kaleb Wesson, who is suspended for violating athletic department policy. Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said the Wesson situation could be addressed prior to the Big Ten Tournament.
C.J. Jackson, a senior, led the Buckeyes with 22 points.
After missing their first 13 attempts from the floor in a loss at Northwestern on Wednesday, the Buckeyes missed their first 11 shots against the Badgers, who led 26-16 at the half.
It was the Buckeyes’ lowest first-half point total of the season.
The Badgers then roared out in the second half with an 18-5 run to go up 44-21 with 16 minutes left, but Ohio State surged to tie it. Jackson missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Seniors Khalil Iverson and Ethan Happ led the Badgers. Iverson had career highs in points (22) and rebounds (14), while Happ notched his 21st double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 boards. He also had eight assists.
“The take-home message is we got what we came here to do done,” Happ said. “It is a little concerning that we kind of gave up that huge lead and we weren’t able to close.”
It was a big homecoming for Iverson, who’s from suburban Columbus. He has played in 132 games in his career for the Badgers, but his only double-doubles have come in the last two games.
“We didn’t really have an answer for Iverson or Happ,” Holtmann said.
OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes’ NCAA Tournament hopes were on life support coming into the game. But if they can get Wesson back for the Big Ten Tournament, they might be able to make some noise in Chicago and earn an at-large bid.
WISCONSIN: The Badgers go into the conference tournament having won five of six to end the regular season. This was a good game for Wisconsin to find other scoring threats to complement Happ.
OHIO STATE: The Buckeyes will be the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and play ninth-seeded Indiana on Thursday.
WISCONSIN: After their double-bye, the Badgers will open tournament play Friday.
No. 21 Wisconsin 73, Ohio State 67 (OT)
WISCONSIN (22-9): Reuvers 1-4 0-0 2, Happ 6-14 4-9 16, Trice 2-11 2-2 8, Iverson 10-14 2-3 22, Davison 4-9 3-4 14, Ford 1-3 0-0 3, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, King 1-6 0-0 2, Pritzl 2-4 1-2 6. Totals 27-65 12-20 73.
OHIO ST. (18-13): A.Wesson 2-9 0-0 5, Young 3-8 0-0 6, Woods 4-11 0-0 9, Lane 0-1 0-0 0, Jackson 7-12 6-11 22, LeDee 0-2 2-2 2, Ahrens 3-6 0-0 9, Jallow 2-4 0-0 4, Muhammad 1-4 0-2 3, Washington 3-9 0-0 7. Totals 25-66 8-15 67.
Halftime—Wisconsin 26-16. End Of Regulation—Tied 63. 3-Point Goals—Wisconsin 7-21 (Davison 3-6, Trice 2-8, Pritzl 1-2, Ford 1-3, King 0-2), Ohio St. 9-25 (Ahrens 3-5, Jackson 2-5, Woods 1-3, A.Wesson 1-3, Muhammad 1-3, Washington 1-5, Lane 0-1). Fouled Out—Woods, A.Wesson. Rebounds—Wisconsin 43 (Iverson, Happ 14), Ohio St. 37 (Young 8). Assists—Wisconsin 13 (Happ 8), Ohio St. 15 (Jackson 5). Total Fouls—Wisconsin 12, Ohio St. 22.
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