Connor Essegian scored 17 points and Chucky Hepburn added 15 as Wisconsin held off a furious rally by Ohio State for a 65-60 victory on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.
Steven Crowl added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Badgers (13-8, 5-6 Big Ten), who broke a three-game losing streak for their second win in the past eight games.
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Wisconsin led by 18 early in the second half but the lead dwindled to 62-60 with a 13-0 run by the Buckeyes (11-11, 3-8) when Justice Sueing made a basket with 30 seconds left. He was fouled on the play but missed the free throw and Hepburn made two shots from the line six seconds later to make it 64-60.
Sueing then missed a shot and fouled Hepburn, who made 1 of 2 foul shots for the final score.
Brice Sensabaugh, who led the Buckeyes in scoring for the 13th straight game, had 13 points before fouling out with 9:20 left. Zed Key had 12 points and Sueing added eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Ohio State has lost three straight and eight of nine. The frustrations reached a boiling point when coach Chris Holtmann was ejected with 27.7 seconds left in the first half for arguing a charging foul on Sueing.
Essegian made all four technical free throws and Hepburn added a jumper with two seconds left to complete an 8-0 run for a 43-27 lead at the break.
Associate head coach Jake Diebler took over for Holtmann.
The Buckeyes’ meltdown actually began with 2:54 remaining in the half. They had scored five straight points to pull to within 33-23 when Tyler Wahl stole the ball from Sensabaugh and Sensabaugh pushed him to draw a flagrant 1 foul. Wahl made 1 of 2 free throws as Sensabaugh went to the bench with his third foul.
It was the second straight game the Buckeyes imploded going into halftime to create an insurmountable deficit. They trailed Indiana 31-30 before the Hoosiers scored 15 unanswered points for a 46-30 advantage en route to an 86-70 victory on Saturday.
–Field Level Media
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