Sun Mar 06 09:10pm EST
One month after Ryan responded to Jared Sullinger's accusations that a Wisconsin fan spit on him by telling reporters, "We won the game. Deal with it," the Buckeyes turned his words into their rallying cry.
The first 1,400 Ohio State students to arrive at Sunday's rematch with Wisconsin received red towels with the phrase "Deal with it" printed on them. Ohio State officials also fueled the crowd's hatred for Wisconsin with a new pregame video aimed at the Badgers that culminated with the same motto.
A frenzied Ohio State crowd booed Ryan when his face appeared on the video board and taunted him throughout the game, but the top-ranked Buckeyes themselves needed no such added motivation. Fueled by the memory of suffering their first loss of the season in Madison last month, they exacted some revenge on Sunday in Columbus, rolling to a 93-65 victory.
Sullinger was the focus entering Sunday's game because of the alleged spitting incident, but he quickly became an afterthought despite 22 points and eight rebounds. Instead, the spotlight turned to the Ohio State backcourt, which set an NCAA record for 3-pointers by sinking 14 of 15 in the game.
The only Buckeye to miss a 3-pointer was guard Jon Diebler, who went 7-for-8 from behind the arc but missed the very first one he attempted. Afterward, he offered a tongue-in-cheek apology to his teammates for ruining the perfect day.
Ryan was far more concerned with his team's 3-point defense than he was with the venom Ohio State fans spewed in his direction. Asked after the game about the towels, Ryan said, "What towels? ... I know one thing, towels didn't blow the ball in on all those 3s."