The Buckeyes squared off against the Wolverines this afternoon in the first of today’s B1G Tournament semifinal games. In a game reminiscent of yesterday’s game, OSU battled back from a substantial deficit, but lost 72-69 as a last second, game-tying shot slipped out of Aaron’s Craft’s hands. And, now the B1G season is over, and Buckeyes and their fans await the NCAA’s Selection Sunday process.
Before I get into the recap, I want to tip my hat to the UM Drama Department. They did a wonderful job of scripting the game to produce a historical re-enactment of events on the day more than 2,000 years ago, as the Wolverines struck repeated 3-point daggers into the Buckeyes’ hearts. The part of Brutus was ably played by Nik Stauskas, and his team mates were cast as the roman Senators.
It was a tough game. The Buckeyes battled back against some unworldly UM shooting, persisted despite poor late free throw shooting, and yet still had a shot to tie the game. It was a gutty performance by the team, and despite portions of the game where it appeared they were on the verge on being put out to pasture, they came back, and came back, and came back some more. It was a disappointing end to the Big Ten season, but now we move to the NCAA’s. If this team shows the same tenacity that they’ve shown the past two weeks, it could be a good tournament run.
The Buckeyes withstood a furious start by the Wolverines to trail 41-37 at the half. By “furious”, I mean “can’t miss a field goal” type of play. At the mid-point, UM was shooting 69% from the field, and 75% from the perimeter. Ohio State was shooting 46% (not bad, by the way), but 46% is not 69%. At that point, OSU trailed 24-14. Rebounding was even (OSU 12, UM 11) and both teams had 7 turnovers. At one point. five minutes into the game, Ohio State trailed 15-3, and like yesterday’s 2nd half against Nebraska, the Battling Buckeyes upped their game. It was a game of runs by both teams, but the Wolverines went on a 7-3 run in the last 5 minutes to get the win.
Ohio State was led by LaQuinton Ross’ 19 points, Shannon Scott’s 18 points and Sam Thompson’s 11 points. While scoring 9 points, Aaron Craft led the team in rebounding 9) ans assists (6). For the game, Ohio State shot 48% (27-56) from the field, 37% (7-19) from the perimeter and 67% (8-12) from the free throw line. They had 31 rebounds and committed 11 turnovers.
UM was led by Nik Stauskas’ 19 points, Caris LeVert’s 18 points and Glen Robinson’s 11 points. LeVert also led the team in rebounding with 8 boards. They shot 53% from the filed, 52% from the perimeter and 53% from the foul line. Pretty consistent.
Michigan got of to a fast start, no, a very fast start and at the under-16 timeout, led 15-2, powered by 6-7 shooting, 3-4 from the perimeter. Meanwhile, Ohio State was 1-6 from the field. At the 10:35 mark, things improved a little bit, but UM held a 24-14 lead, shooting 9-13 from the field and 6-8 from the perimeter. OSU had improved to 6-13 from the field. At the 4:15 timeout, UM was still leading, 37-25, on 67% (14-21) shooting, and 67% (8-12) from the perimeter. Ohio State was shooting a respectable 47% (10-21) from the floor, 57% (4-7) from the perimeter, but OSU had 7 turnovers to UM’s 4 at that point.
In 2nd half action, UM picked up where they left off by coming out of the locker room and hitting 3 consecutive treys to move the lead to 50-39. At the under-16 timeout, UM rode their continued hot shooting to hold a 54-44 lead. At the 13:10 time out, OSU had narrowed their deficit to 8 points, 56-48. At the under-12 timeout, OSU had narrowed the lead to 5 points, 56-51, on a shooter’s touch 3-pointer by Shannon Scott. At the midpoint, four consecutive LQR points pulled Ohio State to with 1 point, 58-57. At 7:53, a Shannon Scott alley-oop to Thompson gave OSU a 61-60 lead heading into the under-8 timeout. Moving to the under-4 timeout OSU lead, 68-67. Two Robinson FT’s and a pretty layup by Stauskas gave UM a 71-58 lead with :53 left in the game.