Ohio State opens Big 10 play with blowout win
Ohio State followed up two tough losses with their best game yet under coach Chris Holtmann.
An easy 83-58 win on the road over Wisconsin was just the way that the Buckeyes wanted to open Big Ten play.
Keita Bates-Diop had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Kaleb Wesson scored 19 points for hot-shooting Ohio State which hit 66 percent from the field and led comfortably for most of the afternoon.
“This was kind of as well as we could play for stretches,” said Holtmann, in his first season with Ohio State. “We probably caught Wisconsin on a difficult day.”
Jae’Sean Tate added 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting for Ohio State (6-3, 1-0). Ohio State handed Wisconsin its worst lost at the Kohl Center, which opened in 1998. The worst previous loss was 61-44 to Michigan State on Feb. 12, 2000.
The Buckeyes were up 49-26 at halftime, then opened the second half with a 10-2 run that quieted the typically rowdy Kohl Center crowd.
“In a game like this, the start of the second half is important because we stretched the lead a little bit,” Holtmann said. “We didn’t give them a chance to get back into it ... It was always relatively out of reach.”
Freshman Brad Davison had 16 points to lead young Wisconsin (3-5, 0-1), which has lost five of its last six games.
The Badgers have four new starters this season around big man Ethan Happ (seven points, six rebounds). Their problems could be epitomized during a stretch late in the first half in which the Buckeyes double-teamed Happ to force a turnover.
Musa Jallow sprinted down the other end for an easy layup and 20-point lead with 1:15 left.
Defensively, the Badgers gave up too many open looks from the 3-point arc and got overpowered in the lane when the game was still competitive.