The 39 first-half points tied their best opening period in Big Ten play this season and were only 10 fewer than the Badgers scored for the entire game at Ohio State in a Jan. 29 loss.
Ohio State coach Thad Matta said it was just one of those games when the Badgers could do no wrong, perhaps best summed up in the second half when Wisconsin guard Traevon Jackson banked in an off-balance shot as the clock shot expired.
Even so, Matta said he was at a loss to explain how poorly Ohio State (18-7, 8-5) played on defense.
"We've seen the results if we're not going to play defensively. We're not a good basketball team," Matta said. "If we're going to rely on trying to outscore people, that's not going to happen."
The win kept Wisconsin tied with Michigan for third in the conference, two games behind leaders Indiana and Michigan State. Ohio State dropped into fifth place.
Wisconsin put Ohio State in a hole early and never let the Buckeyes climb out of it.
The Badgers took control with an 18-0 run in the first half that lasted more than 7 minutes and put them up 24-6. At one point in the run, Matta called timeout and said he lost it with his players, asking in bewilderment what was going on.
"The way we opened the game defensively, guys catch and shoot, we weren't even challenging shots," Matta said.
Ben Brust and Jared Berggren each scored 15 points to lead the Badgers, while Brust also had 11 rebounds. Sam Dekker came off the bench to score 13 for Wisconsin, and Jackson added 10.
In other Top 25 games *
At Clemson, Kenny Kadji scored 12 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 36 seconds left to keep No. 3 Miami perfect in Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 45-43 victory.
The Hurricanes (21-3, 12-0) finished with their fewest points of the season, and their high-scoring guard duo of Durand Scott and Shane Larkin were a combined 3-for-16 shooting for 10 points. Still, Miami pulled out its 13th straight victory on Kadji's wide-open three.
Clemson (13-12, 5-8) had three chances to answer back, but Rod Hall was called for an offensive foul on one trip and, after Trey McKinney Jones made a foul shot, Hall missed a layup and K.J. McDaniels failed on a tip.
* At Michigan, Trey Burke scored a season-high 29 points and freshman Glen Robinson III matched a career high with 21 to help No. 4 Michigan bounce back from an embarrassing defeat with a 79-71 victory over Penn State.
The Wolverines (22-4, 9-4 Big Ten) had dropped three of their previous four games, including a 23-point loss Tuesday night at No. 8 Michigan State, and needed a half to shake off their slump. Michigan trailed for much of the first 20 minutes against a last-place team without a conference win. The Nittany Lions (8-17, 0-13) led by as many as eight in the first half.
* At Utah, Mark Lyons scored 18 points, freshman Brandon Ashley added 10 in a reserve role and No. 9 Arizona defeated Utah, 68-64, to snap a two-game skid.
Arizona (21-4, 9-4 Pac-12) led by as many as 13 early in the second half only to see the Utes (11-14, 3-10) respond with a 14-3 run to tie it at 51 with 7:28 remaining.
* At South Florida, Russ Smith scored 15 points and No. 12 Louisville (21-5, 9-4 Big East) routed the Bulls (10-15, 1-12), 59-41.