Buckeyes beat Badgers to open Big Ten tourney
Published 11:37 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023
CHICAGO (AP) — Sean McNeil scored 17 points, Justice Sueing added 16 and 13th-seeded Ohio State held on to defeat 12th-seeded Wisconsin 65-57 on Wednesday night to open the Big Ten Tournament.
The Buckeyes (14-18), who had a 27-point lead with 15 1/2 minutes to play, face fifth-seed Iowa in the second round on Thursday.
Bruce Thornton added 15 points for Ohio State, which went 1 for 8 from the field in the final 10 minutes and missed six free throws, including the front end of two 1-and-1’s in the final four. Brice Sensabaugh had nine points and 11 rebounds.
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Tyler Wahl had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Connor Essegian scored 11 for the Badgers (17-14), who were 8 of 31 through almost 35 minutes before going 12 of 23 when they closed within 57-52 with 2:13 to go.
Ohio State turned it over, but Max Klesmit missed a 3-point attempt that could have cut it to two. McNeil made two free throws with 1:20 left for the Buckeyes. After that they were just 4 of 8 until Roddy Gayle Jr. made a pair with 11.2 to play to seal it.
Wisconsin, which has been to 22 of the last 23 NCAA Tournaments, went 1 of 8 in the final two minutes and finished at 34%, going 4 of 22 from 3-point range. Ohio State was 6 of 13 from long range and shot 52% overall but had 16 turnovers and allowed Wisconsin 15 offensive rebounds.
Thornton had 13 points as the Buckeyes shot 68% to race to a 36-18 halftime lead. The Badgers missed all seven of their 3s and shot 30% (7 of 23) for their biggest halftime deficit of the season.
When Felix Okpara and Sueing opened the second half with baskets for the Buckeyes for a 40-18 lead, Wisconsin had its largest deficit of the season. When Sensabaugh hit a 3-pointer it was 57-20 with 15:31 remaining.
Both teams had their worst seed ever for the Big Ten tourney.
Percentages: FG .523, FT .650.
3-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (McNeil 3-4, Sueing 1-1, Sensabaugh 1-3, Thornton 1-4, Gayle 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: None.
Blocked Shots: 3 (Okpara 2, Sensabaugh).
Turnovers: 16 (Thornton 4, Sensabaugh 3, Sueing 3, Brown 2, McNeil 2, Gayle, Likekele).
Steals: 8 (Gayle 2, Okpara 2, Thornton 2, Brown, Sueing).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .344, FT .611.
3-Point Goals: 4-22, .182 (Wahl 1-2, Davis 1-3, Hepburn 1-6, Essegian 1-7, Crowl 0-1, Lindsey 0-1, Klesmit 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 3. Team Turnovers: None.
Blocked Shots: 2 (Davis, Wahl).
Turnovers: 10 (Crowl 3, Hepburn 2, Klesmit 2, Wahl 2, Essegian).
Steals: 8 (Wahl 3, Hepburn 2, Davis, Gilmore, Lindsey).
Technical Fouls: None.