Ohio State hangs on, beats Wisconsin (The SportsXchange)

MADISON, Wis. — So close to escaping the Kohl Center with a victory for the second time in three seasons, the No. 24 Ohio State Buckeyes braced themselves for heartbreak. Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson missed the back end of a one-and-one and after getting the rebound, Buckeyes center Amir Johnson heaved a pass to forward LaQuinton Ross, streaking unimpeded to the basket. Ross missed his layup but got the offensive rebound right as Johnson came crashing into him. Ross was called for traveling and Wisconsin got the ball back with 8.4 seconds left. But No. 14 Wisconsin, ice cold down the stretch, couldn’t rally, as forward Sam Dekker’s 3-pointer missed and the Buckeyes breathed a sigh of relief, notching a 59-58 victory. “You wouldn’t expect anything different with the year that we’ve had so far,” Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft said. “We haven’t really had the ball roll our way or get a lot of breaks, but we looked at each other and said. ‘We just have to get one more stop.’ “It does cross your mind, though, but we went through it the last game so as a team, it helped us having gone through that already.” Craft was held scoreless for much of the game, finally getting on the board by a 3-pointer late and sinking two free throws to give the Buckeyes a 57-56 lead with 1:36 remaining. “My shots felt pretty good the last few games,” Craft said. “They were going really far underneath and setting double-screens, so I had all the time in the world and it went in for us.” The loss was Wisconsin’s third straight at the Kohl Center, the Badgers’ longest home losing streak since Bo Ryan took over the program in 2001. While few teams can boast much success in Madison, those to beat the Badgers this year have struggled mightily in the past. Michigan’s last victory at Wisconsin came in 1999, while Northwestern had never won in the building. Ohio State won here in 2012, but had lost nine in a row before that and dropped another last season. “It’s a relief,” said Ross, who led Ohio State with 13 points. “Everybody wanted to win this game. … It’s great to give Coach Motta a win here.” A month ago, Ohio State at Wisconsin looked like it would be the marquee game of the Big Ten season. Both teams were undefeated coming into conference play, opened with Big Ten victories — Ohio State went 2-0 and Wisconsin 3-0 — and climbed as high as No. 3 in the polls. But then the wheels came off. The Buckeyes lost four straight and five of their last six, while Wisconsin dropped four of its last five, including s 65-56 loss to Northwestern on Wednesday night. “I don’t think we’re happy by any means, but we want to get back to what we know we can be,” Badgers guard Ben Brust said. “We have to change something, so we’re going to get back at it. We can’t sulk, we’ve got to move on. “There are nine games left and we’ve got to try and turn those nine games positively.” Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes made 6-of-7 shots and scored 17 points, pacing a Badger offense that shot 40 percent from the field, but was only 3-of-15 from beyond the arc and 19-of-29 on free throws. “There were a couple times we were up by 6 or 7 and we just couldn’t get the next bucket or the next stop,” guard Josh Gasser said. …

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