Lucas at Large: Do you remember when?

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Do you remember when Wisconsin and Ohio State combined to score a Kohl Center record 186 points in a game that served as a springboard for the Badgers, who closed out the regular season with six straight wins and a share of the Big Ten championship in what amounted to a First Hurrah for Bo Ryan?

There have been many such highlights in the series between these two programs, none more memorable than when John Erickson's overachieving Badgers crushed No. 1-ranked Ohio State, 86-67, on March 3, 1962 at the Field House. Erickson, fittingly, will be the honorary captain for Saturday's game between Wisconsin and the No. 1 ranked Buckeyes at the Kohl Center.

"For about a year, we displayed the basketball from that game in a little glass case in the Field House where we ran out on the floor," remembered Erickson, who had replaced the legendary Bud Foster two seasons earlier. "Ohio State's coach Fred Taylor really got upset with me for doing it, too.

"He said, 'We beat you about 12 or 13 times in a row and then you finally beat us once and you put the ball in a trophy case?' I said, 'Fred, do you realize how good your team was and what a monumental victory that was for us?'"

Erickson has become friends with Ryan and he has great respect for what Ryan has accomplished with the UW program though he loves teasing him about his patented Swing Offense. "I don't know if they ever fast break or not - that's just a different game than I knew," said Erickson, laughing.

The '62 Badgers had a penchant for running. "Someone put a stop watch on us, and I don't know if they were kidding," Erickson recalled, "but they said my team held the ball for an average of seven seconds every possession before shooting. Bo's teams hold it until there are seven seconds left in the possession."

That was not necessarily the case on Feb. 6, 2002 when the Badgers and the Buckeyes set a scoring record at the Kohl Center in what was expected to be a huge mismatch between slumping Wisconsin and first-place Ohio State.

The Badgers had lost three of their last four, including back-to-back road games at Northwestern and Michigan, and they saw their record dip to 12-11 overall; 5-5 in the Big Ten. By contrast, the No. 16 Buckeyes were 17-3 and 8-1.

"But no one blinked," Ryan said.

After falling behind in the first half, the Badgers used a 17-3 run to take a 60-50 lead with 11:21 remaining in the game. The balanced Buckeyes, who had four players averaging in double-figures, cut into the deficit by playing zone.

The final minutes of regulation came down to free throw shooting. And Wisconsin's Mike Wilkinson and Devin Harris combined to make six straight clutch free throws to push the Badgers into an 81-78 lead with 14.8 seconds left.

Ryan doesn't normally like to foul in this situation - up by three. "But if ever there was a time when I thought about fouling, it would have been then because I really thought overtime wasn't to our advantage," he said.

As it was, Ohio State's Brian Brown got dribble penetration - collapsing the defense - which left Boban Savovic open for a 3-pointer which he drained from the left corner with 2.4 seconds on the clock to send the game into overtime.

"We didn't want a foul and a four-point play," Ryan said.

The Buckeyes, though, capitalized on a four-point possession in the OT when Brent Darby stepped to the line on a 'Basket and One.' He missed the free throw but he grabbed his own rebound and scored, tying the game, 89-89.

Ohio State then came up empty on a couple of possessions, while Harris iced the win from the free throw line. Of the UW's 13 points in overtime, 11 were free throws. The two teams combined to shoot 78 free throws - 46 by Bucky.

Wisconsin 94, Ohio State 92.

"We came together in the huddle right before overtime and said, 'We're not going to lose this game,'" said UW senior Charlie Wills, who had 21 points, matching Kirk Penney, who also had 10 rebounds, "It was a crucial win."

The Badgers closed out the regular season by also beating Northwestern, Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. The six-game winning streak earned Ryan's first UW team a share of the Big Ten title, along with Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State (which later forfeited its share because of NCAA sanctions).

"That's a heck of a demonstration," Ryan said, "to play the No. 1 team (Ohio State) in the league for that many minutes with that kind of foul trouble and come away with a 'W.' That's some gutsy play there."

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How many times has the UW Basketball team played a number 1 team since 1962?