#22 Ohio State (19-5. 6-5) hosted #15 Michigan (17-6, 9-2) this evening in their only regular season meeting. Despite a horrendous January, OSU entered this game three games behind MSU/UM in the standings, and with 7 games to play, a legitimate chance to win the regular season championship. This has been some season..
In a classic example of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Buckeyes started out on fire, let Michigan back into the game before half, then watched Michigan put on a rebounding clinic, to fall to the Wolverines 70-60. This drops OSU to 19-6, 6-6 and pretty much takes them out of any possibility for the regular season championship. This was a game where Michigan overcame a 1st half 10-point deficit by exerting their will over the Buckeyes. Defensively, OSU was unable to block anyone out on the defensive boards. Offensively, despite early success with looking inside to score, had periods of settling for, and missing, perimeter shots.
This was as disappointing loss as I’ve seen lately, and in the past month and a half, I’ve seen several. The team got away, offensively, from what had been working, didn’t block out on the defensive boards, and generally let Michigan have their way.
Ohio State was led by LaQuinton Ross (24 points) and Lenzelle Smith Jr (13 points). Ohio State shot 44% from the floor (22-53), but only 15% (3-20) from the perimeter. The Buckeyes had 27 rebounds, 8 on the offensive end.
Michigan was led by Nik Stauskas (15 points), Derrick Walton (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Zak Irvin (10 points). Although Jordan Morgan only had 6 points, he asserted himself on th boards, with 8 rebounds, 6 of them offensive.
Despite a hot start offensively, Ohio State let Michigan hang around, but still led 30-26 at the half. As late as 3:21 left in the half, OSU held a 10 point lead, 28-18, but UM chipped away to pull within 2 before two late LaQuinton Ross free throws ended the 1st half scoring. Thad took a page from recent UM opponents by assigning a smaller, quicker player (Aaron Craft) to defend Nil Stauskas. It was somewhat effective as Stauskas had 8 points on 2-6 shooting; 6 of his points coming on pop-out 3-pointers.
The Buckeyes shot 48% (12-25) in the half and were led by LaQuinton Ross’ 13 points on 5-8 shooting. As late as midway through the half, OSU was shooting an impressive 64% from the field (9-14), but questionable shot selection during the final 10 minutes pulled their average down quite a bit. Michigan only shot 32% (9-28), but kept themselves in the game with 7 offensive rebounds.
In 2nd half action, at the under-16 mark, OSU had a 38-33 lead. At 10:56 OSU’s lead was 43-42 and starting to slip away. UM was working their inside offense, while in contrast OSU was settling for 3′s and missing them. at the 9:19 UM held a 49-43.OSU was missing 3′s, three in a row in this stretch. UM was attacking the rim, being very aggresive on offense, and over a 3 minute stretch, the Wolverines went on a 12-0 run to change a 37-43 deficit to a 49-43 lead. At the 3:24 mark, UM had a 56-52 lead, extended it to 59-52 at the 2:01 mark and by the 1:22 mark had things pretty well wrapped up with a 64-54 lead.
Ohio State’s next game is Saturday when they travel to Illinois for an 8:00 PM EST game. The game will be aired on BTN, check local listings. We’ll have the ingame Live Chat right here, please stop by.