Ohio State holds on to edge Wisconsin 65-57 in Big Ten

Ohio State's Roddy Gayle Jr. (1) shoots as Wisconsin's Steven Crowl defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten men's tournament, Wednesday, March 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Sean McNeil scored 17 points, Justice Sueing added 16 and 13th-seeded Ohio State held on to defeat 12th-seeded Wisconsin on Wednesday night to open the Big Ten Tournament.

The Buckeyes (14-18), who had a 27-point lead with 15 1/2 minutes to play, face fifth-seed Iowa in the second round on Thursday.

Bruce Thornton added 15 points for Ohio State, which went 1 for 8 from the field in the final 10 minutes and missed six free throws, including the front end of two 1-and-1’s in the final four. Brice Sensabaugh had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Tyler Wahl had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Connor Essegian scored 11 for the Badgers (17-14), who were 8 of 31 through almost 35 minutes before going 12 of 23 when they closed within 57-52 with 2:13 to go.

Ohio State turned it over, but Max Klesmit missed a 3-point attempt that could have cut it to two. McNeil made two free throws with 1:20 left for the Buckeyes. After that they were just 4 of 8 until Roddy Gayle Jr. made a pair with 11.2 to play to seal it.

Wisconsin, which has been to 22 of the last 23 NCAA Tournaments, went 1 of 8 in the final two minutes and finished at 34%, going 4 of 22 from 3-point range. Ohio State was 6 of 13 from long range and shot 52% overall but had 16 turnovers and allowed Wisconsin 15 offensive rebounds.

Thornton had 13 points as the Buckeyes shot 68% to race to a 36-18 halftime lead. The Badgers missed all seven of their 3s and shot 30% (7 of 23) for their biggest halftime deficit of the season.

When Felix Okpara and Sueing opened the second half with baskets for the Buckeyes for a 40-18 lead, Wisconsin had its largest deficit of the season. When Sensabaugh hit a 3-pointer it was 57-20 with 15:31 remaining.

Both teams had their worst seed ever for the Big Ten tourney.


More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25