Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points, including 10 during a game-breaking 15-0 second-half run, to lead No. 11 Ohio State past Wisconsin 58-49 on Tuesday night.
The leading scorer in the Big Ten, Thomas took over the game as both teams tried to gain leverage in a typically physical matchup between them.
The victory moved Ohio State (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) into third place in the Big Ten and dropped Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) two games off the pace set by co-leaders Indiana and Michigan (6-1).
Traevon Jackson, the son of Buckeyes great Jimmy Jackson, led the Badgers with 12 points in the arena where his dad's jersey hangs from the rafters.
Jared Berggren added 11 points for Wisconsin.
Aaron Craft had 13 points for the Buckeyes.
Both teams were shooting well to start the second half, the Buckeyes hitting seven of their first eight from the field and Wisconsin making 6 of 11. Thomas' fake and 10-foot jumper over Ryan Evans tied it at 41, with Thomas then giving the Buckeyes the lead on a drive through the lane and finger roll after Evans had charged into Craft at the other end.
It didn't stop there, as the Buckeyes' defense stepped up the pressure to force bad shots while the offense started clicking.
During the 15-0 run that went from the 13:01 mark to under 6 minutes left, the Badgers were 0 for 7 from the field with three turnovers as everything went Ohio State's way.
Thomas hit another basket, this time on a drive, before LaQuinton Ross popped in a 3 from the left wing. Thomas then took a pass from Shannon Scott on the fast break and scissored in for a layup. While Wisconsin continued to misfire at the other end, Thomas then jousted with Evans, forcing him to step back and then hit a soft, fall-away 16-footer to push the lead to 52-41 and bringing the crowd to its feet.
Ben Brust finally ended the 7:11 drought with a 3 from the top of the circle.
After Wisconsin narrowed the gap to five points on a 3 by Berggren, Scott stole the ball and went the length of the court for a three-point play.
The Badgers never got closer than six points again.
The Badgers led 26-24 at halftime, playing at a pace that fit in perfectly with their game plan. They would distribute the ball around the perimeter, occasionally getting it inside, before settling for a 3 with the shot clock winding down.
They took 16 shots behind the arc, only 10 inside it. They picked up 12 points in that one stat, making 6 of 16 3-pointers to Ohio State's 1 of 2.
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