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March 6, 2011
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The crowd wanted the Buckeyes to make the Badgers deal with it on Sunday afternoon and they got their wish due to some hot three point shooting by the Scarlet and Gray. Wisconsin (23-7, 13-5) never stood a chance in front of a hostile crowd and Jon Diebler led the Buckeyes with 27 points as Ohio State (29-2, 16-2) ended the regular season with a 93-65 win.
What may have been even more surprising is the Buckeyes went 14-of-15 from long distance and Diebler's first miss was the only missed three pointer of the game. After the miss, Ohio State hit the next 14 in a row and set a Division I record for three point shots (based on a certain minimum). David Lighty (2-2), William Buford (3-3), Deshaun Thomas (1-1) and Jordan Sibert (1-1) also joined the long distance party.
Jared Sullinger did about everything else from the inside and had 22 points and eight rebounds of his own. Buford had 18 and Lighty had 13 on their senior day while Dallas Lauderdale had four points with nine minutes played.
The Badgers were led by Josh Gasser and his 17 points while Jon Leuer had 16 of his own. Jordan Taylor was not able to repeat any of his heroics on Sunday being held to eight points on 2-9 shooting.
"I don't know if you could script it much better," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said after the game. "I thought our defensive effort was incredible. Obviously they (Wisconsin) have the ability to make you pay. It was incredible how well we shot the basketball though."
Ohio State shot 68-percent from the field each of the two halves and it didn't matter if Wisconsin had a hand in their face or not because everything seemed to be falling for the home team.
Sullinger joked with the television crew before the game that he wanted to beat Wisconsin by 50 points after the Badgers handed Ohio State its first loss of the season and in turn Sullinger his first collegiate loss of his career.
"That first loss, I didn't take too lightly," Sullinger said. "I wanted to win and I wanted to win big."
There really wasn't much that the Badgers were able to do with Ohio State's outside shooting. Wisconsin drained several three pointers early in the game to stay close for a while but there are limits to being able to stay close against a team that is just as hot as Ohio State was.
"14 of 15," Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said after the game. "I don't think people do that very often. I thought we shot the ball well at our place but what they did today is just unheard of."
The Buckeyes now will turn their attention to the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis (Ind.) starting on Friday. The team will draw the winner of the Northwestern vs. Minnesota game that will take play on Thursday afternoon. The Buckeyes assured everyone that there is no let up on this team even with a likely No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the offing.
"It's not over," Lauderdale said. "This isn't really a fairytale finish for me."
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