Badgers beat down Buckeyes

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/">Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham
MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 13 Ohio State men's basketball team (18-7, 8-5) came into its Sunday matchup with No. 20 Wisconsin (18-8, 9-4) looking for its first signature road win of the season. After a 71-49 drubbing at the hands of the Badgers, the Buckeyes are still looking.

Wisconsin had four players score in double-digits against Ohio State, over the the course of a game that saw the Badgers dominate the final 36 minutes of action. After both teams raced out to six points a piece in the first four minutes of play, Wisconsin went on a 21-2 run- which included an 18-0 stretch- to take a 27-8 lead over OSU.

The Buckeyes never recovered.

Deshaun Thomas scored 18 points and pulled down xx rebounds against the Badgers, but it wasn't enough for an OSU team that again showed its need for a second offensive weapon to step up behind the Big Ten's leading scorer. Sam Thompson and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each tallied six points for the Buckeyes, while point guard Aaron Craft struggled with his shot, scoring just four points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Wisconsin, meanwhile, didn't have any trouble finding scoring from a variety of places. Forward Jared Berggren and guard Ben Brust led the way for the Badgers with each player scoring 15 points, while 13 points from Sam Dekker and 10 from Traevon Jackson aided their efforts.

After taking a 39-22 advantage into halftime, Wisconsin didn't let off the gas, extending its lead to as many as 26 points in the second half. Willing to try anything and everything, Thad Matta emptied his bench with 10 minutes remaining in the game, allowing freshman Amedeo Della Valle to play the duration of the contest.

No combination of lineups seemed to help to help OSU, against a Wisconsin team that seemed determined to avenge its 58-49 loss to the Buckeyes in Columbus on Jan. 29. Ohio State's 22-point defeat was the largest margin of victory that the Buckeyes have suffered since Dec. 31, 2009.

With the loss, Ohio State falls back to fifth place in the Big Ten standings, where the Buckeyes now trail Indiana and Michigan State by three games, and Michigan and Wisconsin by a single game. OSU will return to action on Wednesday, when it hosts Minnesota (18-7, 6-6) in Columbus for a 7 p.m. tipoff.