Through 28 minutes, the Wisconsin Badgers were just about right where they wanted to be at No. 11 Ohio State.
They had slowed the pace, were playing their usual brawny defense and were holding their own in almost every way. And they led by four points.
But then the Buckeyes went on a 15-0 run and coach Bo Ryan's team could never recover.
With Deshaun Thomas scoring 25 points — 10 during the pivotal run — Ohio State went on to a 58-49 victory Tuesday night.
"There was a flurry there where they got four or five shots right at the bucket and we didn't take care of what we needed to take care of," Badgers forward Mike Bruesewitz said.
Ryan said it was defensive mistakes which led to the Buckeyes turning a 41-37 deficit into a 52-41 lead.
"We had some guys miss some assignments on pickups, help and recover," he said simply.
With Ohio State (16-4, 6-2 Big Ten) trailing 41-39 with 11:26 left, Thomas took over.
Thomas' fake and 10-foot jumper over Ryan Evans tied it at 41, with Thomas then giving the Buckeyes the lead on a drive through the lane and finger roll after Evans had been called for a charge at the other end.
It didn't stop there, as the Buckeyes' defense stepped up the pressure to force bad shots while the offense started clicking.
During the 15-0 run that went from the 13:01 mark to under 6 minutes left, the Badgers were 0 for 7 from the field with three turnovers as everything went Ohio State's way.
Thomas hit another basket, this time on a drive, before LaQuinton Ross popped in a 3 from the left wing. Thomas then took a pass from Shannon Scott on the fast break and scissored in for a layup. While Wisconsin continued to misfire at the other end, Thomas jousted with Evans, forcing him to step back before hitting a soft, fall-away 16-footer to push the lead to 52-41 and bringing a crowd of 16,911 to its feet.
"That's easily the best player we've played because of how he can get his own shots," Ryan said. "Thomas is good. He was tough on the two-point jump shots — real tough — and around the basket. He can attack. He's so strong."
Ben Brust finally ended the 7:11 drought with a 3 from the top of the circle.
Bruesewitz blamed the Badgers' inability to stop the Buckeyes in transition.
"(It's) just small stuff that we can take care of," he said of the mistakes. "We're better when we're set five on five than when we're turning the ball over and they're out sprinting and getting layups."
Until the run, Wisconsin had controlled the tempo by passing the ball around, finding the open man and making 11 of 28 3-point attempts.
The Badgers took more shots behind the arc than they did inside it (making just 8 of 24). They also didn't shoot a free throw, the first time that's happened in Ryan's 12 years and 390 games in Madison.
"We've done it to other teams," he said.
Traevon Jackson, the son of Buckeyes great Jimmy Jackson, led the Badgers with 12 points in the arena where his dad's jersey hangs from the rafters. Jared Berggren added 11 points.
Ryan said the Buckeyes gained confidence as they took over the game.
"Once they got it going it made it tough because then you take one thing away and you have to deal with the other," he said.
Then he added, "They've got a good team."
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