Chicago, IL – Deshaun Thomas tallied a game-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead No. 10 Ohio State to its fifth Big Ten Tournament title with a 50-43 triumph over 22nd-ranked Wisconsin on Sunday at United Center.
Aaron Craft contributed nine points and six boards for the Buckeyes (26-7), who held the Badgers without a field goal over the final seven minutes as they closed the contest on an 11-2 outburst.
Ohio State, which has won eight straight games since a 71-49 setback in Wisconsin on Feb. 17, was named the No. 2 seed in the West Region and will take on Iona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Dayton.
Traevon Jackson led Wisconsin (23-11) with 10 points, while Sam Dekker donated eight points off the bench for the Badgers, who earned the No. 5 seed in the West and will face SEC Tournament champion Ole Miss on Friday in Kansas City.
"It's a disappointment," Wisconsin forward Ryan Evans said of the loss. "We definitely wanted to leave here with some hardware, but moving forward, we've got the NCAA tournament. It's a bigger thing, and I'm looking forward to that."
Wisconsin carried a slim 24-23 edge into the second half and the teams traded buckets for much of the final frame, with neither team taking a lead greater than two over the first 15-plus minutes.
Dekker's jumper with 7:03 remaining broke a 39-39 tie, but the Badgers failed to register a field goal the rest of the way, allowing the Buckeyes to seize control.
Two free throws from Thomas tied the game before LaQuinton Ross followed a Craft layup with a tough bucket inside to give Ohio State a 45-41 lead with 4:31 left.
After a Jackson miss and a Dekker turnover, Ross finished another layup in close before Jackson knocked down two free throws to bring Wisconsin within four with 2:27 remaining.
The Badgers would get no closer, though, as Ben Brust and Mike Bruesewitz each missed a triple on Wisconsin's next two touches before Thomas connected on 3- of-4 from the charity stripe over the final 44 seconds to seal the outcome.
"The defense was as good as it could possibly be," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said of his team. "Great, great win for our program, great win for our university, and I'm elated."
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 13-6 lead just over seven minutes in, but the Badgers answered with a 14-0 run that Frank Kaminsky capped with a 3-pointer to give his team a 20-13 cushion.
Wisconsin's lead was nine, 24-15, with 3:20 to play before Thomas tallied six points in an 8-0 half-closing surge that brought the Buckeyes within 24-23 at the break.
Ohio State has taken three of the last four Big Ten Tournament titles ... Wisconsin was making its fifth Big Ten championship game appearance, while Ohio State was appearing in its ninth title game ... The only other meeting between these teams in the Big Ten Tournament championship game occurred in 2007, with OSU prevailing in a 66-49 final ... Both teams shot nearly 38 percent, despite going a combined 4-for-34 from 3-point range.