Playing in front of a raucous Saturday night crowd at the rechristened Crisler Center, No. 17 Michigan avenged a loss to Ohio State from a few weeks ago.
Aaron Craft vs. Michigan
The Wolverines used a deliberate pace and strong defense to turn back the sixth-ranked Buckeyes 56-51 before 12,721 at the Crisler Center and a national television audience on ESPN. The loss snapped OSU’s six-game winning streak in the series and knocked the Buckeyes out of first place in the Big Ten in the process.
“I think you saw two very good teams,” said UM coach John Beilein. “Both prioritize defense, obviously, by the final score. They were both battling for every bit of real estate they could get. That was a game that explains why we’re in the weight room. We also made some tough shots to win.”
Freshman guard Trey Burke made a couple of clutch shots down the stretch to lift Michigan (20-7, 10-4) to the win. Burke, a high school teammate of OSU’s Jared Sullinger at Columbus Northland, had 17 points and five assists.
Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had 13 points for Michigan, while Jordan Morgan scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Deshaun Thomas had 25 points and 13 rebounds to lead Ohio State (22-5, 10-4).
“I was just doing what I had to do and I was listening to the coach,” Thomas said. “I was crashing the boards and trying to get rebounds. I just kept calm and tried to keep my teammates involved.
“Will (Buford) told me to keep shooting. He said I would get us out of that slump if I kept shooting.”
Jared Sullinger added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Buckeyes.
It was another subpar performance for the Ohio State offense as the Buckeyes hit just 38.8 percent of their shots (19 of 49) and were just 18.8 percent from behind the three-point arc (3 of 16).
“This basketball team knows what we did,” Sullinger said. “We have to come into practice tomorrow and hit some shots. I wouldn’t be surprised if all we work on tomorrow is our shooting. We had open shots and we missed them."
The Buckeyes, who never led in the game, lost for the second time in eight days. Sullinger was asked how far away this team is from where they want to be.
“Far, far, far,” he said. “At this point, we don’t know what our future holds if we keep playing like this. This basketball team is smart enough and tough enough to understand we can come out and play better.”
William Buford had six points and six rebounds, but he was just 3 for 12 from the floor. Aaron Craft had four points and was 1 for 6 from the floor. The OSU bench contributed no points and four rebounds in 20 combined minutes for four subs.
As It Happened
Ohio State was lucky to only be down 25-20 after a first half that saw the Buckeyes shoot 0 for 9 on three-pointers and commit seven turnovers. Thomas had eight first-half points to lead OSU, while Hardaway and Burke each had seven for Michigan. OSU was unable to capitalize on a six-minute stretch where Michigan made just one field goal.
“I thought the looks in the first half were really good looks,” Matta said, “so, I don’t know. We knew where we wanted the ball to go and you just hope at some point that the dam breaks. We need to at some point knock a couple down out there.”
Michigan jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Burke weaving for a layup, Hardaway sticking a 16-foot jumper and Novak getting credit for tip-in that went off Sullinger’s hand and into the basket. Thomas hit a pair of jumpers and Craft made a driving layup to draw OSU within two at 8-6.
But UM surged ahead 15-8 as Hardaway hit a three and made a pair of free throws and Burke hit a pair as well. The Buckeyes got the lead down to 15-12 after Lenzelle Smith Jr. hit a layup and Buford made a one-hander on the baseline. Sullinger hit a runner in the lane to cut it to 17-16 with 7:16 left in the half.
This is where the teams traded possessions several times without scoring. Finally, Michigan broke the seal with Jordan Morgan scoring off a Burke feed. Burke then found Stu Douglass for a three. When Burke made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:14 left, UM led 23-16.
Buford scored on a back door pass from Thomas, but Burke answered with a pull-up jumper to make it 25-18 with 39 seconds left. OSU held for a final shot and Thomas got an offensive rebound and scored with two seconds left to make it 25-20 at the break.
Thomas hit a three in the first minute of the second half to cut the Michigan lead to 27-23. But the Wolverines took advantage of several OSU miscues to widen the margin. Buford had miss, leading to a Morgan jam on the fast break. Buford then had another miss and Burke made a nifty bounce pass to Morgan for another jam. Craft then missed a reverse, leading to a Douglass jumper in the lane that made it 33-25. Burke hit 2 of 3 free throws for a 35-25 lead with 14:40 left in the game.
Thomas splashed another three to cut the gap to 37-30 with 13:35 left. But Hardaway hit one of his own to again make it 10 at 42-32 with 11:44 left.
Sullinger made a hook inside and, after a UM miss, scored on a running hook to cut it to 42-36 with 10:32 left in the game. Sullinger turned into a double team and made another hook to cut it to 42-38 with 8:56 left.
UM’s Morgan completed a three-point play to put the Wolverines up47-40 with 7:26 left. But Thomas calmly answered with another three to make it 47-43 with 7:08 left. Hardaway hit 1 of 3 free throws for a 48-43 lead with 5:47 left.
Sullinger was fouled on a tip attempt. His two free throws got OSU within three at 48-45 with 4:51 left. But UM’s Douglass answered with a stepback 16-footer to make it 50-45 with 3:42 left.
Thomas hit a pair of free throws to make it 50-47 with 3:22 left. UM’s Morgan then missed a close shot but got his own rebound. UM took 30 more seconds off the clock before Novak stuck a clutch 16-foot jumper to make it 52-47 with 2:23 left. Sullinger answered by again making a tough one inside, trimming it to 52-49 with 2:01 left.
Morgan again missed and OSU’s Smith rebounded, but he came down and traveled. Given new life, Michigan ran the time down again and Burke made an amazing drive down the left side of the line and banked it in over Craft for a 54-49 lead with 1:12 left.
“Craft was heating me up and pressuring me,” Burke said. “I knew Craft was so good with his feet he could force a five-second call. I decided to go. I saw an opening to the left. Once I had leverage on him I just went up and laid it in.”
Craft then tried to do the same at OSU’s end, but his shot was deflected. It appeared he was bumped by a UM defender, but official Ted Valentine ruled the ball went off Craft out of bounds and UM had it back with 1:01 left.
Craft fouled Burke with 57 seconds left. He missed the front end of a one-and-one. Craft was then fouled with 42 seconds left and hit both free throws to make it 54-51.
OSU gambled on trying to get a stop, but Burke made them pay again. The freshman hit a driving bank shot over Sullinger’s outstretched hand to make it 56-51 with 11.2 seconds left.
“That was big because Coach Beilein switched up the pick-and-roll,” Burke said. “Usually, Jordan Morgan was setting the screen and Jared would bracket me and make me go into Craft. But we brought Zack Novak up and Deshaun Thomas was guarding me. I saw some room to the right. I got it into the paint.
“I knew that Jared was going to try and take a charge so I just shot a floater off the glass.”
The Buckeyes had a couple of three-point attempts go off the rim in the closing seconds.
* Following the game, Matta remarked, “What did we charge, five times? We may have set an NCAA record for charges.”
* Michigan is now 14-0 at home and 8-0 in home Big Ten games this year. The Wolverines have won 16 straight home games dating to last season.
* Ohio State still leads the all-time series against Michigan 91-72, although Michigan leads 45-36 in Ann Arbor. OSU had won six straight over Michigan, dating to a 2010 loss at Ann Arbor. OSU is now 15-3 against UM under Matta (since 2004-05).
Ohio State won the first meeting with Michigan 64-49 on Jan. 29 at Value City Arena.
Michigan has played at Crisler Arena since 1968. Ohio State is now 18-23 all-time at Crisler.
* This was the 24th time this season and 58th time in 63 career games Sullinger has scored in double figures.
* Thomas’ 25-point game marked the 34th time in his career he has scored in double figures. He has done it in 23 of OSU’s 27 games this year.
His 13 rebounds are also a career high and he had his first-ever double-double.
“Deshaun played great tonight,” Sullinger said. “It seemed like they were leaving him and when you leave him, he always seems to score the basketball.”
* OSU is now 5-4 on the road this season with wins at South Carolina, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Minnesota and previous losses at Kansas, Indiana and Illinois.
* OSU is now 5-4 this season against ranked teams and 36-41 in eight seasons under Matta. This year, OSU has wins over Florida, Duke, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and previous losses to Kansas, Indiana and Michigan State.
* The Buckeyes host Illinois Tuesday at 7 p.m. (ESPN). OSU dropped a 79-74 decision at Illinois on Jan. 10. Illinois lost at Nebraska 80-57 earlier on Saturday to fall to 16-11 overall and 6-9 in Big Ten play.
* Click here for the box score.
Click here for Dave Biddle's What We Learned column.
Here are postgame interview links with Matta, Michigan’s John Beilein, UM’s Burke and OSU players Sullinger and Thomas:
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