CHICAGO - Ice-cold shooting bit the Wisconsin Badgers again in the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game, as they scored just two points in the game's final seven minutes and fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes 50-43.
Point guard Traevon Jackson led the Badgers with 10 points, but they shot just 38.3 percent from the field in the game and missed their last seven shots. Their sudden shooting slump allowed the Buckeyes to come from behind and secure the Big Ten's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said he thought his team would be able to pull out the win, but in the end the Buckeyes made more hustle plays and out-worked the Badgers in the end.
"I thought we had a chance to run the gauntlet, we just didn't have quite enough in us. Our guys got them to take quite a few tough shots for the most part," Ryan said after the game. "I really liked the way we got after it. You still have to make shots."
The Buckeyes out-rebounded the Badgers 39-28 in the game, including a 12-5 advantage on the offensive glass. The Buckeyes also outscored the Badgers 13-4 on second-chance points, including a few crucial ones near the end of the game.
Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross scored four second-chance points in the game's final five minutes, denying the Badgers a chance to tie or take the lead from the Buckeyes in the game's waning minutes. Jackson said those rebounds were a turning point in the game, especially since
"He got that offensive rebound and that was on me," Jackson said of Ross. "He really stepped up. They just got the extra second hustle points."
But even though the Badgers fell short of winning a Big Ten title this season, they still believe they have some momentum as they move into the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers will play as a No. 5 seed and will play Ole Miss in Kansas City, Mo.
"We played well. Things didn't go our way today, but we've got some good momentum going in to the tournament," Mike Bruesewitz said after the game. "[We] just kind of have to put this one behind us, have amnesia, and get back to work on Monday. We've got to go back home and get back to it, because we've got the Big Dance to take care of business too."
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