COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Do-everything center Frank Kaminsky called it a statement game. If that’s the case, then the point clearly was: Watch out for Wisconsin.
Kaminsky scored 20 points and Bronson Koenig touched off a 16-0 second-half run with two 3-pointers to help the sixth-ranked Badgers cruise to a 72-48 victory over No. 23 Ohio State on Sunday.
"This was kind of a statement game for us going into the Big Ten Tournament, beating a good team on their home floor," said Kaminsky, a 7-foot senior who’s a leading candidate for national player of the year. "We’re really excited about what’s next."
The Badgers (28-3, 16-2) had already clinched the regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament. In a hostile environment, they tied a school record for league wins while extending the best start in team history.
"I’m proud of them," coach Bo Ryan said. "You look at the last four games that we had and we knew that we had to get at least two of them to clinch it and we get three out of the four."
Koenig, averaging 7.6 points, had 15 and Nigel Hayes scored 10 for Wisconsin, winners of three in a row and 13 of 14.
Down by as many as 17 points, the Buckeyes (22-9, 11-7) pulled to 46-39 on a 9-0 run with D’Angelo Russell, who finished with 17, scoring the first six points and then passing inside to Jae’Sean Tate, who had 13, for a three-point play.
But on consecutive possessions — the Badgers had three offensive rebounds on the second one — Koenig hit timely 3-pointers from the same spot on the left wing in front of the Wisconsin bench.
"Huge," Ryan said. "That’s Bronson. He’s a gamer, no question about that."
After Ohio State missed a shot, Koenig drove the lane to make it 54-39. Sam Dekker and Kaminsky each added two more baskets to complete the 16-0 run that took more than 5 minutes and finally ended when Russell hit a jumper with 7:12 left. The Buckeyes never threatened again.
"That’s discouraging," said Shannon Scott, who scored 10 points in his final home game. "We wanted to win this game and they blew us out."
In the final minute the student section chanted "One more year!" to Russell, a freshman widely expected to go in the top few picks of the NBA draft.
The home loss was coach Thad Matta’s first in March at Ohio State after going 13-0.
"You have games like this, where nothing seems to work," Matta said.