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Thomas carries Buckeyes to victory over Badgers

The SportsXchange

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Even Wisconsin's agonizingly sluggish pace couldn't slow down Deshaun Thomas on Tuesday night.

Ohio State's preseason All-American took over the game at Value City Arena in Columbus. He scored 25 points and dished out four assists in a 58-49 win over one of the top defensive basketball programs in all of college basketball.

Aaron Craft added 13 points and seven rebounds for No. 11 Ohio State (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) while sophomore LaQuinton Ross scored eight key points off the bench.

Wisconsin (14-7, 5-3) was led by Westerville, Ohio native Traevon Jackson. With his dad's No. 22 jersey hanging from the rafters, Jimmy Jackson's son scored 12 points in his return to Columbus.

Senior Jared Berggren added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Badgers while guard Ben Brust connected on three shots from behind the arc, but it wasn't enough for Bo Ryan's Badgers. They fell two games behind Indiana and Michigan for the top spot in the Big Ten Standings.

The Buckeyes got off to a slow start, missing nine of their first 10 shots against Wisconsin's pesky defense and hold-the-ball style on offense. They had just 24 points at the half, and found themselves in a two-point hole heading into the locker room at the break.

But Thomas couldn't be stopped, regardless of who was on him. Ryan tried senior Ryan Evans for most of the night. He gave Berggren a chance and even Mike Bruesewitz. Thomas was too much for every one of them.

Ohio State's 6-foot-7 forward scored 14 of his 25 points in the second half, making six of his nine shots over the final 20 minutes of the game.

Both teams came out hot in the second half, combining for 30 points (15 apiece) on 12 of 18 shooting in the first 7-plus minutes of second half basketball. Wisconsin still led 41-39 with 12:20 to play, but the Buckeyes would take over from there.

Ohio State went on a 15-0 run over the next five minutes to take control of the game. Thomas scored on a layup in transition to give OSU a 50-41 lead. He then hit a stepback jumper over Bruesewitz to cap the 15-0 burst for the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin rallied with back-to-back threes from Brust and Berggren to make it a 5-point game with four minutes to play, but that was as close as they would get.

Shannon Scott stole a pass and converted a 3-point play in transition to put the game away for good.
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