|#2 Michigan (16-1, 3-1)||22||31||53|
|#15 Ohio State (13-3, 3-1)||34||22||56|
A number one ranking for the first time in 20 years, the best start in program history, and the first victory in Columbus in nine years was all on the line when Michigan met 15th-ranked Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. But the moment was too big for the young Wolverines who rely on several true freshmen, and despite a furious comeback, Michigan fell for the first time this season, 56-53.
Trey Burke got the scoring started with an open three on Michigan’s first possession, but the high-pressure Buckeye defense and tense Michigan play caused things to quickly go south for the Wolverines. It was 9-3 Ohio State by the time of the first official TV timeout, and back-to-back Aaron Craft buckets prompted a Michigan timeout. After a Jordan Morgan turnover, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas hit a three to give the Buckeyes a 16-3 lead before Michigan finally got back on the board with a Glenn Robinson III triple. But Ohio State wasn’t finished with the onslaught. An 8-0 run pushed the lead to 24-6, drawing another Michigan timeout.
It was 29-8 with six minutes remaining in the first half when Michigan got a lift from an unlikely source. Freshman backup point guard Spike Albrecht came in to give Burke a breather and drew a foul, hitting both free throws. It sparked a 13-5 Michigan run to close the half – a run that included two more free throws and a three-pointer by Albrecht. At the half, Michigan trailed 34-22.
Morgan scored the first points of the second half to bring Michigan within 10, but Ohio State answered right back with a three-point play by Amir Williams. Michigan cut the deficit to eight with 11:36 remaining, but Thomas responded with a three to put the Buckeyes back up by 11 heading into the under-12 timeout.
Over the next three minutes of play, Michigan went on a 7-2 run to pull within four, prompting a Buckeye timeout. When play resumed, Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a three to pull Michigan within one at 44-43. An Ohio State dunk followed, but Robinson hit a three to tie the game at 46 with 5:58 to play.
A 6-0 Ohio State run put the ‘Bucks back up by six heading into the final TV timeout, and after a four-minute scoring drought, Michigan finally got back on the board with a pair of free throws by Burke. Robinson then stole the ball near midcourt and flushed home a fastbreak dunk to pull Michigan within two with 1:16 to play. Thomas missed a jumper and Michigan got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead. After a timeout, the Wolverines opted to let Burke pop a three for the lead, but it went halfway down and rattled out and Ohio State grabbed the rebound with 13 seconds left. Lenzelle Smith Jr., a 56 percent free throw shooter, hit both of his free throws to seal the deal and hand Michigan its first loss of the season.
Michigan shot just 38.3 percent from the field, while Ohio State shot 44 percent, and the Wolverines made just 6-of-20 three-point attempts. Burke led the way for Michigan with 15 points, despite shooting just 4-of-13. Hardaway was the only other in double figures with 12, though he made just 1-of-6 three-point attempts. Robinson added eight points and Nik Stauskas was held scoreless, missing all three attempts from downtown. Thomas scored 20 for the Buckeyes.
The 22 points Michigan scored in the first half were a season low for a half, but they did respond by holding Ohio State to 22 in the second half, and outscored the Buckeyes 47-32 in the final 30 minutes. But the first 10 minutes were ultimately too much to overtime.
With the weight of being the nation’s only unbeaten team lifted, Michigan heads to Minneapolis on Thursday to face a Gopher team that will be just as tough as Ohio State. How the Wolverines respond will set the tone for the remainder of the Big Ten season.
|Final Game Stats|
|01||Glenn Robinson III*||3-8||2-4||0-0||0||1||1||1||8||2||2||0||8||38|
|10||Tim Hardaway Jr.*||5-15||1-6||1-2||0||5||5||0||12||1||1||1||1||40|