The Michigan Wolverines visited Columbus on Thursday night and gave the Buckeyes all they could handle, but in the end Ohio State prevailed to move to 23-0 on the 2010-11 season. After a brutal first half for the Buckeyes, the team came out in the second half and steadily got it together as the game wore on, finishing off the Wolverines down the stretch and protecting their undefeated streak. The Schott was rocking on a night that saw Ohio State gut out a good win over yet another Big Ten opponent that gave the Buckeyes their best shot.
As the game got started, it looked as though Ohio State was going to blow out the Wolverines. Coming off a close win over Northwestern, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 7-0 lead before two minutes had ticked by on the clock. However, Michigan came storming back on stellar play from star guard Darius Morris. The first half continued, and Ohio State’s rhythm disappeared, being replaced by a bevy of turnovers and bricks. Both David Lighty and Aaron Craft picked up two fouls partway through the first and were forced to the bench. Ohio State managed to keep it close, but went into halftime trailing 26-23.
For the first half, the Buckeyes turned the ball over 10 times while only shooting 36% from the field. Jared Sullinger had the strongest showing with 8 points and 8 rebounds, and Jon Diebler contributed 9 to the Buckeye cause. In contrast, the Wolverines shot 44%, with Morris leading the way on 5-6 shooting for 10 points.
The second half started with more of the same from Ohio State, and Jordan Morgan asserted himself on the offensive end for Michigan, surprisingly outshining Jared Sullinger in the early-going and picking up some points in the paint. However, the Buckeyes eventually started to heat up and had opened up a 43-36 lead by the 11-minute mark. William Buford made a few big shots, and the team was helped out with a solid defensive effort that led to picking up several charges on the Wolverines.
Coming down the stretch Sullinger hit two big free throws at 6:45, and Ohio State rode its freshman star the rest of the way, continually going inside and drawing fouls on the Michigan players. Unfortunately, Ohio State couldn’t convert consistently from the line, and finished the game shooting only 15-25 for a 60% rate. Sullinger hit another big layin with just over three minutes left, which was followed by an Aaron Craft steal to stop Michigan. However, Craft’s steal started a break that finished in a William Buford charge, effectively preventing Ohio State from putting the game out of reach and granting Michigan one more good chance to pull close.
At two minutes remaining Sullinger missed two free throws, but Michigan failed to capitalize. Darius Morris missed a layup while trying to draw a foul, and some crisp passing on the other end for Ohio State resulted in William Buford knocking down a short floater that turned into a three-point play when he drew the foul on the play, putting Ohio State up 10 and sealing the win.
In the end it was Ohio State’s defense that won the game, getting a few key stops in the last 10 minutes of the game. Sullinger was the player of the game, posting another strong showing with 19 points and 16 rebounds. William Buford added 13 points for Ohio State, highlighted by a few timely three-pointers. Tim Hardaway, Jr. finished as the leading scorer for the Wolverines with 15.
Ohio State next plays Minnesota on Sunday at 2:00pm.