Wisconsin routed Ohio State in Madison last month to open the Big Ten season, but both teams’ lineups will have a different look in their meeting in Columbus on Saturday night.
A Badgers team missing Jon Leuer visits a Buckeyes squad that played the first matchup against Wisconsin without Evan Turner - who is coming off his best game since returning.
Wisconsin (14-3, 4-1) opened conference play with a 65-43 win over Ohio State on Dec. 31, outscoring the then-No. 15 Buckeyes 31-18 in the second half. Ohio State shot a season-low 32.6 percent.
The Buckeyes (12-5, 2-3), though, were without Turner, who broke two bones in his lower back in early December. He has returned after missing six games, and scored 23 of his career-high 32 points in the second half as Ohio State rallied from 13 down for a 70-66 win at No. 6 Purdue on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-7 swingman, who added nine rebounds, has increased his scoring from eight points to 19 to 32 in three games since coming back. He scored 14 of Ohio State’s final 18 points against the Boilermakers and is averaging 18.8 on the season.
“I think he’s getting it back,” coach Thad Matta said. “I’ve looked at a lot of tape when we’ve had him (before the injury), and he was playing at a high level. I thought he played at a high level tonight.”
While Ohio State will have its star on the floor for the rematch with the Badgers, Wisconsin will be without one of its top players this time. Leuer, second on the team with 15.4 points per game and first with 6.2 rebounds, is out with a broken bone in his wrist suffered last weekend.
The Badgers beat Northwestern 60-50 on Wednesday in their first game without Leuer, who had 11 points and five assists against Ohio State in December as he was limited by foul trouble.
Trevon Hughes scored 16 points and went 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the final seven minutes after missing his first five 3-pointers. He added seven rebounds and three assists.
Jason Bohannon had a team-high 19 points and Jordan Taylor, making his first start, added 10 points and seven assists as the three-guard lineup carried Wisconsin offensively.
“This was a big one for us, without Jon, without one of our key players, to get this one under our belt,” said Hughes, averaging 15.8 points and shooting 41.7 percent from 3-point range. “Especially on the road.”
Hughes led the Badgers against Ohio State last month with a game-high 16 points.
Wisconsin won the last meeting at Columbus 58-53 on Feb. 24, 2008, although Hughes missed all seven of his shots and finished with two points in 34 minutes.
After playing four of its first five conference games on the road, the Buckeyes return home for their next two. They had lost four straight away from West Lafayette before rallying past Purdue.
Turner and Ohio State might have trouble against a Wisconsin team that gave up more than 60 points once in the last eight games. Opponents have shot 39.1 percent against the Badgers during that stretch.
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