Ohio State Falls on the Road at #5 Michigan
Ohio State dropped their 6th game in the last 7, struggling on the offensive end in a 65-49 loss in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes continue to find it difficult to take care of the basketball, turning it over 19 times and only hitting on 37% of their shot attempts, which is not a recipe for success in any game. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State with 12 and C.J. Jackson added 11 for Ohio State who fell to 13-7 and 3-6 in conference play.
The Buckeyes got off to a quick start, leading 7-2 out of the gate, thanks to a quick 5 from Kaleb Wesson. Michigan answered with a 4-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 2 but a Luther Muhammad triple from the left corner and a Kaleb Wesson blocked shot on one end and a lay in on the other gave Ohio State a 12-6 lead despite 4 early turnovers. The Wolverines cut into the lead over the next 4 minutes, trimming the lead to 2 and heading to the stripe at the under 12 timeout. The Buckeyes stretched the lead back to 3 before a Wolverine triple from the right wing tied the game at 18 with 8 minutes remaining in the half. Michigan took their first lead of the game when another three fell from the right wing with 7 minutes to go in the half. The Buckeyes continued to be sloppy with the basketball, which cost them on the offensive end, turning it over 9 times compared to Michigan’s 2. The Buckeyes would rally to regain the lead thanks to a pair of dribble drives from C.J. Jackson, the first resulting in a pair of free throws that dropped and the latter resulted in an old fashioned three point play, giving Ohio State a 2 point lead with 3 and a half remaining. Another 3 from Michigan gave the Wolverines a 1 point advantage but C.J. Jackson’s bucket at the rim on the other end gave Ohio State the lead right back with just under 2 minutes to go. From there, it was all Wolverines, finishing the half on a 7-0 run fueled by a pair of Buckeye turnovers for a total of 11 for the half, and Michigan went into the locker room leading 32-26. Jackson and Kaleb Wesson led the Buckeyes with 9 each in the first 20 minutes.
The turnovers continued early in the second half with the Buckeyes turning it over twice in the first 40 seconds but Michigan struggled to take care of the basketball as well, turning it over 3 times themselves as the second half went scoreless for the first 2 plus minutes. A Kaleb Wesson three from the right wing off a post pass from Andre Wesson cut the Wolverine lead to 3 and broke the early scoring drought. Michigan answered with a 4-0 run to extend the lead to 7, their biggest lead, with 15 minutes to go in the basketball game. Out of the under 16 timeout, Chris Holtmann went small and it paid dividends on their first possession as Duane Washington made a driving layup to cut the lead to 5 but a Michigan 3 from the left corner stretched the Wolverine lead to 8. After an inexplicable call of a charge on Andre Wesson that was clearly a flop, Michigan buried another three to begin to take control, leading by 11 with just under 13 minutes to play. Ohio State would answer as Washington buried a big three to quiet the crowd and cut the lead back to 8. Chris Holtmann called a quick timeout after the bucket to settle the team back down and regain their composure. Ohio State forced a quick turnover but a pair of missed, wide-open three point attempts led to an empty possession and a three on the other end gave the Wolverines their 11 point lead back heading into the under 12 media timeout. Then with 8:05 to go, Kaleb Wesson was whistled for an over the back foul on the offensive end, but in true Michigan fashion, they began jawing at the Buckeyes and a melee ensued in which Wesson and Keyshawn Woods were hit for technicals along with a pair of technicals on Michigan. The common foul on Wesson resulted in a pair of free throws that were converted and the Wolverines grabbed a 14-point lead and all the momentum heading into the under 8 media timeout and the wheels falling off the Buckeyes. Michigan would extend the lead to as many as 20 before enjoying the 16-point win.
The season long issues were on full display in this game as Ohio State’s lack of consistency shooting the basketball and their difficulties in the turnover department continue to plague this basketball team. The lack of a true point guard is rearing its ugly head as this team is finding it extremely challenging to get any kind of offensive efficiency. The mental mistakes are continuing to add up and in turn the losses are piling up. Take solace however as the schedule lightens up quite a bit over the next few weeks and this basketball team needs to take advantage. The next few weeks will determine where this team ends up in March. String some wins together and slip into the NCAA tournament. If not, they will watch the dance from home.
The Buckeyes welcome in the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers on Saturday at noon in the Schott. That game will be aired on BTN.