OSU hand Badgers 3rd home loss in a row, 59-58

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Nigel Hayes' breakout performance, better defensive effort and Ohio State's big men in foul trouble weren't enough for Wisconsin (17-5, 4-5 B1G) to avoid a third-straight home loss. The Buckeyes' senior point guard Aaron Craft got hot down the stretch and Ohio State came out with a narrow 59-58 victory over the Badgers. 

After starting the game 13-15 from the free throw line, the Badgers went cold in the 2nd half, finishing the game 6-14 from the charity stripe. No missed free throw was bigger than point guard Traevon Jackson's back end miss with UW down 59-58 and just over 15 seconds left to play.

Nigel Hayes did all he could do to keep the Badgers in this one, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-7 field goal shooting. He added five rebounds and an assist, to go along with 5-11 FT shooting as well. 

However, it was Craft and his 7 points down the stretch that made all the difference. He played the first 36 minutes without a point, but in the final 3:57 of the game he would pour in all of his points to propel the Buckeyes to victory. 

Wisconsin shot 40 percent from the field, but were just 3-17 from beyond the arc. Defensively, it was a much better team effort by the Badgers, holding OSU to 42.9 percent from the field. Unfortunately UW couldn't do much beyond the arc defensively, as the Buckeyes hit 5 of 9 from deep. 

If there was a moment that tells you everything, it was this great imitation of Sam Dekker by UW head coach Bo Ryan: 

With the loss, the Badgers not only have lost three games in a row at home for the first time under Ryan, but have also lost five of their last six overall as well. 

A trip to Champaign to take on Illinois awaits the Badgers as they look to stop the skid somehow. 

Let's get to the grades…

Player Stats/Thoughts Grade

Ben Brust, G
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13pts, 7 rebounds, 4-9 FGs, 2-6 3pt FGs

Brust came off a 21 point performance and actually played better with fewer points on Saturday. He was more efficient from the field overall, and was better on defense too. He had no turnovers and created an important steal in the 2nd half that kept OSU from blowing open its lead. It wasn't an amazing day, but it wasn't even close to his worst either. 

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Nigel Hayes, F
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17pts, 5 rebounds, 6-7 FGs, 5-11 FTs

If it weren't for Hayes the Badgers would've been in severe trouble in the 2nd half. The UW offense worked best going through him and he was simply on fire. His lone miss was thanks to a terrible pass by Jackson with the shot clock expiring. Overall this was Hayes best half of basketball and perhaps his best overall effort in his freshman season. 

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Traevon Jackson, G
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7pts, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-9 FGs, 3-4 FTs

Jackson has been the favorite scapegoat for a lot of Badger fans, and on Saturday he deserved every bit of the criticism he was receiving via social media. Jackson couldn't hit the broad side of the barn from point blank range, was too concerned with his own 1-on-1 matchup and put his team in bad situations most of the afternoon. His lone miss from the free throw line came when UW needed the point the worst as well. 

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Sam Dekker, F
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4pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2-6 FGs

If you noticed Dekker after first five minutes of this game it was probably because you were wondering where he was. This was the smallest effort of the year for the most noticeable player on the UW roster. He had trouble on defense and was often being yelled at by Bo Ryan. His imitation of Dekker's movement on a set play was priceless and summed up his afternoon.  

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Josh Gasser, G
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7pts, 6 rebounds, 2-5 FGs, 1-3 3pt FGs

Gasser's offensive day wasn't great, but he helped in the rebounding department in a big way in this one. Only Brust's 7 rebounds were more. However, Gasser is less and less of a go-to option on offense as the season goes on. That part of his game is not ready coming off his injury from last year. 

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Bronson Koenig, G
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2pts, 1-3 FGs, 0-2 3pt FGs

Koenig's numbers don't tell the whole story in this one. He played well as facilitator in his 11 minutes of action, it just didn't show up on the score sheet. He was smart with the ball and we got another glimpse of his vision when he threaded a pass to Kaminsky deep in the lane. Koenig continues to show why he'll be a more important player in the years to come. One has to wonder if Koenig has earned more of Jackson's minutes too. 

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Frank Kaminsky, F
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8pts, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1-6 FGs

Not Kaminsky's best shooting effort by a long shot. He just didn't have it going from deep where he was 0-3 and it seemed to affect the rest of his game at times. He did pick it up in the 2nd half, finding other ways to get involved. 

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Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college football for nearly half a decade. He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadgers.com and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, 32flags.com

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