Mike Conley Jr. stepped out of Greg Oden's lengthy shadow at just the right time.
Conley drove the lane and made a runner with four seconds left to give No. 2 Ohio State a 49-48 victory over top-ranked Wisconsin yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, clinching the Buckeyes' second consecutive Big Ten title.
The game marked the first time Big Ten teams have met in a 1 vs. 2 game.
"I had a feeling I was going to get the ball," said Conley, son of the 1992 Olympic triple-jump gold medalist. "I just went to the hole and it worked out for us."
With the victory, the Buckeyes are likely to climb to the top spot in the Associated Press rankings for the first time since Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and a sub named Bob Knight were ranked No. 1 throughout the 1962 season.
"I hope it motivates us," Coach Thad Matta said. "I hope it continues to pour gas on our fire."
Alando Tucker, Wisconsin's candidate for conference player of the year, had given the Badgers the lead with just under a minute left when he scored inside off Jason Chappell's dump pass.
Chappell then blocked a shot by Ron Lewis before Wisconsin's Kammron Taylor was sent to the line in the bonus situation with 20.3 seconds left. Taylor's first attempt spun off the rim.
After a timeout, the Buckeyes (26-3, 14-1) passed around the perimeter before Conley, a freshman who has spent his career in the shadow of 7-foot high school and college teammate Oden, scissored through the lane and tossed up a soft shot that balanced on the rim before falling.
"If you've got a point guard like Conley, he's going to try to penetrate," Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan said. "We were trying to make him take a tough shot."
The Badgers (26-4, 12-3), who lost both games this week after becoming No. 1 for the first time ever, inbounded to Taylor who drove the length of the floor and tried an off-balance 15-footer at the buzzer. Oden got a piece of it before Lewis, a senior playing his final home game, swatted it away.
Ivan Harris led the Buckeyes with 13 points, with Oden and Conley each scoring 11.
Tucker, averaging 20.2 points, was held to 12. Reserve Jason Bohannon went 3 for 3 from three-point range and finished with 11 points. Taylor scored 10.
Ohio State also won the last time a No. 1 team visited Columbus -- stunning unbeaten Illinois in the home finale two years ago.
· MEMPHIS 77, HOUSTON 64:Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 19 points to lead the No. 7 Tigers past the visiting Cougars, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 17.
Joey Dorsey added 16 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis (25-3, 14-0 Conference USA), which also won its 29th consecutive home game. The Tigers weathered a pesky defensive start by Houston with a late run in the first half to put the game out of reach. The Cougars (15-13, 9-5) cut Memphis's lead to less than 10 only once in the second half.
Robert McKiver led Houston with 32 points.
Winthrop of the Big South and Memphis are the only teams in the country undefeated in their conferences.
· VANDERBILT 67, KENTUCKY 65:In Nashville, Derrick Byars grabbed a rebound off his own missed foul shot and scored to give the No. 17 Commodores their first lead with 25.5 seconds left and Vanderbilt completed a season sweep of the Wildcats.
Byars finished with 26 points and Shan Foster added 21 as the Commodores (19-9, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) erased a 10-point second-half deficit. They didn't lead until Byars went to the free throw line.
Bobby Perry scored 18 points to lead Kentucky (19-9, 8-6).
· DUKE 67, ST. JOHN'S 50:In New York, Greg Paulus scored 19 points and DeMarcus Nelson added 14 points and seven rebounds to lead the No. 18 Blue Devils.
Jon Scheyer had 11 points and David McClure grabbed seven rebounds to help Duke (22-7) win its fourth straight since a four-game losing streak knocked the Blue Devils out of the top 25. Paulus was 5 for 7 on three-pointers.
Lamont Hamilton scored 17 points and Anthony Mason Jr. had 13 to lead the Red Storm (15-14).
· LOUISVILLE 76, CONNECTICUT 69:Terrence Williams scored 17 points and freshman Derrick Caracter came off the bench to score 16 first half-points as the No. 20 Cardinals won their fifth straight game and likely secured an NCAA tournament bid.
Louisville (21-8, 11-4 Big East) blew an early 11-point lead, and the Huskies (17-11, 6-8) tied the game at 58 on a three-pointer from Jerome Dyson with 4 minutes 2 seconds to go. They tied it again at 60 when Jeff Adrien hit a jumper for the Huskies at 3:31.
But the Cardinals scored on every possession after that.
The loss was a blow to Connecticut's NCAA chances. The Huskies do not have a win against a top 25 team, have a losing record in conference and an RPI number of 87.