MADISON, Wis. — Jordan Taylor scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half to rally No. 13 Wisconsin from a 15-point deficit to beat previously unbeaten No. 1 Ohio State 71-67 on Saturday.
Wisconsin (19-5, 9-3 Big Ten) beat a No. 1 opponent for the first time since 1962, when it was also Ohio State. The Badgers joined Florida as the only programs to knock off the same No. 1 school in both football and men’s basketball in the same academic year. The Gators also beat Ohio State in both sports in 2006-07.
Fans at the Kohl Center stormed the court, just like when they rushed the field at Camp Randall Stadium following the Badgers’ 31-18 win there over then-No. 1 Ohio State on Oct. 16.
William Buford scored 21 points for Ohio State (24-1, 11-1). Freshman Jared Sullinger made an easy layup to push the Buckeyes’ lead to 47-32 with 13:21 left, setting the stage for the comeback.
Mike Bruesewitz and Jon Leuer scored 12 points apiece, while freshman Josh Gasser added 11 for Wisconsin, which won its 17th straight at the Kohl Center and improved to 150-11 at home under coach Bo Ryan.
Ohio State had won 18 straight Big Ten games and 28 regular-season contests. Sullinger scored 19 points and had 12 rebounds, but the Buckeyes failed to keep its quest to become the first undefeated team since Indiana in 1975-76.
Wisconsin was sharp from beyond the arc, hitting 12 of 24 3-pointers to key the upset, but it sure didn’t look like the Badgers would be close after falling behind big.
Taylor sparked a 15-0 run to tie it by scoring eight straight points, hitting a floater and two deep 3-pointers, then Wisconsin went on another 10-0 run down the stretch to hold on.
After the Badgers’ first 15-0 spurt, Ohio State took a 55-52 lead two free throws by Aaron Craft with 7:11 left.
Bruesewitz tied it with a 3 and when Sullinger tried to crash the offensive glass, he tripped and left Keaton Nankivil open on the other end for a jumper. Taylor then made a 3 from the left side and added two free throws to give Wisconsin a 62-55 lead with 4:18 to play.
Jon Diebler and Sullinger each hit two free throws cutting it to 65-63 with 58 seconds left in a last gasp run. But Bruesewitz hesitated at the top of the arc trying to find Taylor and took an open 3 instead, hitting it to make it 68-63.
Craft then lost the ball out of bounds, and the crowd began pouring down to the lower level for the celebration to come moments later. Leuer was hoisted by the crowd and pumped his arms for more noise in the middle of the madness.
About 10 minutes before introductions, the sold-out Kohl Center crowd was whipped into a frenzy with highlights of the Badgers’ win over Ohio State in football were shown followed by the message “Let’s Take Down No. 1 Again.”
The honorary coach was John Erickson, who led Wisconsin’s 1962 squad to its only other victory over a top-ranked team in basketball, also over Ohio State as Wisconsin improved to 2-19 all-time against No. 1.
The Buckeyes, who wore black “3407” patches on the two-year anniversary of the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 that killed everyone on board including Ohio State video coordinator Kevin Kuwik’s girlfriend, maintained their composure in the noisy environment over the opening minutes.
Wisconsin went ahead by six early and Gasser’s 3-pointer made it 24-19 with just over 4 minutes left in the first half. But Buford scored 15 points in Ohio State’s 23-6 run that turned a five-point deficit into a big lead that the Buckeyes failed to protect.