MADISON, WI - DECEMBER 29: Head Coach Greg Gard of the Wisconsin Badgers on the sidelines during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Kohl Center on December 29, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Greg Gard

Badgers bomb their way past Buckeyes, 79-68

The Wisconsin Badgers of 2016 aren’t exactly known as the king of the three-point shot, coming in to Thursday night’s game averaging just 5.5 made triples per game.

UW blew that out of the water in the first half alone, and ended up making 13 triples en route to a 79-68 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Wisconsin (14-9, 6-4 B1G) opened the game on an 11-0 run, and perhaps prophetically that’s just how it ended. The Badgers wound up winning by 11 points, earning their fifth-straight victory in the process.

After a slow start in the first half, junior forward Nigel Hayes put his team on his back when needed in the second half and poured in 21 points on 6 of 15 shooting from the field.

However, Ohio State kept things close for most of the contest thanks to an incredible night from JaQuan Lyle off the bench. The

The difference? Wisconsin was able to counter with three other players in double figures — Bronson Koening had 13 points, with Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown adding 12 points in the winning effort.

Ohio State’s starters would combine for just 22 total points on the night, shooting a combined 39.1 percent from the field.

Wisconsin felt like it would cruise early on thanks to junior forward Vitto Brown, who scored seven of the Badgers’ opening 11 points.

Ohio State took a timeout following Brown burying a three-pointer from the wing for the 11-0 lead, and it worked.

The Buckeyes came out of the break with a 5-0 run to put themselves back in the game. It also didn’t hurt that the recently struggling JaQuan Lyle found his stroke.

He poured in 18 of the Buckeyes’ 32 points in the first half — basically carrying this team as the Badgers also began to struggle through an over 4 minute scoring drought in the middle of the first half.

Koenig broke the Badgers’ drought, and did it with back-to-back three-pointers, putting Wisconsin on top 27-22 after seeing the lead evaporate in to a 22-21 scoreline in favor of the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin’s point guard wasn’t the only one hot from deep either, as the Badgers made seven total three pointers in the first half alone.

The three-point party didn’t stop after intermission either, as Wisconsin would go on to hit six triples in the second half.

It was just too much for the one-man crew of Lyle to overcome, as the Buckeyes countered UW’s 13 made three-pointers with just seven of their own.

Things nearly got away from the Badgers down the stretch, as it allowed anything and everything to their visitors, who ended up shooting 48.3 percent from the field in the second half. However, after the Buckeyes cut Wisconsin’s lead to just two at 65-63, UW woke back up.

Wisconsin went on a 5-0 run and opened a 7-point lead it would never relinquish. Six points in the final minute and three key defensive rebounds sealed the victory for the red-hot Badgers.

UW returns to action on Wednesday to face Nebraska. Tip off is set for 6 p.m CT.

Andrew Coppens

About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He is the Managing Editor of MadTownBadger and associate editor of Bloguin's World Cup site, as well as Publisher of Big Ten site