Ohio State Earns Huge Road Win, Defeating Michigan in Ann Arbor

Ohio State earned their 3rd straight victory, going on the road and outlasting Michigan at the Crisler Center 61-58. With the win, the Buckeyes moved to 5-6 in the Big Ten and 15-7 overall. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio  State with a monster game, scoring 23 points and yanking down 12 boards, while Duane Washington came off the bench to score 17.  Kyle Young also chipped in 12 for the victorious Buckeyes. Ohio State shot just 42% which included 7 of 18 from beyond the arc, while holding Michigan to just 33% from the floor and just 10 of 31 from long range.  Despite being dominated on the glass by the bigger Wolverines, who outrebounded the Buckeyes 45-31, Ohio State had a very efficient offensive game, turning it over just 8 times, compared to 12 for Michigan.

A cold shooting start by Ohio State enabled Michigan to jump out to an early 5-2 lead. Fortunately for Ohio State, Michigan struggled from the field as well and the Buckeyes tied it when Kaleb Wesson buried a three from the top of the key and at the under 16 media timeout, the score was deadlocked at 5. A pair of short fade away jumpers from Kaleb Wesson put Ohio State up by four with 13 minutes to go in the half. A Kaleb Wesson rebound and put back put Ohio State up 13-7 with 10 to go and Wesson followed with a triple on the next possession to give Ohio State their largest lead of the game, ahead 16-7. Michigan scored at the rim while being fouled ending a nearly 4 minute scoring drought and completed the old fashioned three point play, cutting the Buckeye lead to 6.  Another bucket by the Wolverines cut the lead to 4, but a lob from Kaleb Wesson to Kyle Young for a lay in gave the Buckeyes a 18-12 lead at the under 8 media timeout. Four quick Michigan points trimmed the Ohio State lead to just 2 but Kaleb Wesson quieted the suddenly raucous home crowd with a long three from the top to put Ohio State back up 5.  Michigan answered with a 3 of their own to cut the lead back to a pair with less than 4 minutes to go in the half. Another Wolverine triple out of the under 4 minute timeout gave Michigan a brief lead before C.J. Walker curled around a defender on the perimeter and swung the ball out to Justin Ahrens who promptly buried a 3 to give Ohio State a 2 point lead.  After a Michigan miss, Duane Washington found E.J. Liddell at the rim for a score to give the Buckeyes a 4 point lead.  Michigan answered with another 3 to cut the lead to 1 which is the lead the Buckeyes would hold as the teams went to their respective locker rooms, with Ohio State holding a 28-27 lead. The Buckeyes were led by Kaleb Wesson’s 15 and shot just 41.4% from the floor, while holding the Wolverines to a 31% clip, including just 4 of 16 from behind the arc. The Buckeyes frankly should have led by more, turning it over just 3 times and forcing 6, but Michigan to dominated the glass to the tune of a 23-14 Wolverine advantage in the first 20 minutes.

Neither team got off to a stellar offensive start early in the second half with the Buckeyes missing their first five shot attempts combined with a Wolverine 3 to give Michigan a 2-point lead. Duane Washington drilled a triple in transition to end the mini drought and put the Buckeyes back on top and a Washington runner put the Buckeyes up 3.  Michigan answered the Buckeye 5-0 run with a 5-0 run of their own to go back up 2 before Kaleb Wesson completed an and one opportunity to put the Buckeyes back up a point.  A Michigan triple was followed by an EJ Liddell banker at the rim to tie the score at 38 at the under 12 minute media timeout. A Kyle Young runner in the lane put Ohio State up a pair but following a Buckeye turnover in which Luther Muhammad nearly had his shoulder torn off, re-aggravating a previous injury, leading to a 5 on 4 break and Michigan drilled a 3 to go up a point. The Buckeyes came right back and utilizing a 2 man game on the left wing, Duane Washington found Kaleb Wesson for a deuce to put the Buckeyes back up 1 and at the under 8 minute media timeout, Ohio State led 42-41. After a Michigan free throw tied it, Washington scored on a dribble drive while being fouled.  Washington missed the free throw to keep the Buckeye lead at a pair and after a Michigan miss, some outstanding interior passing between Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young led to a Young score to put Ohio State up 4.  Michigan scored the next 5, all by Michigan Senior Zavier Simpson to give the Wolverines a 1 point lead and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 6:08 to go and Michigan leading 47-46. Following a Washington miss from 3, a Wolverine tip in put Michigan up 3 which equaled the largest lead of the night for the Wolverines. A quick 5-0 Buckeye run that included a Washington 3 gave the Buckeyes a 2 point lead but a put back by Michigan tied the score and it remained tied 51-51 at the under 4 minute media timeout. A Michigan score gave the Wolverines a short-lived lead as Kaleb Wesson completed an old-fashioned three-point play on the other end to put the Buckeyes back up a point. After Kaleb Wesson missed a front end of a one and one opportunity, Michigan buried a 3 to go up 2.  On the following possession, Kaleb Wesson kicked the ball out to Washington who buried a triple to put the Buckeyes back up 1 and 54 seconds remaining and Michigan called timeout. A critical moment late as Michigan’s Xavier Simpson was penetrating the lane, Kyle Young fouled him while at the same time Simpson grabbed and ripped Young’s jersey, which was called for a flagrant 1 foul.  Simpson made both of his tries to give Michigan a 1 point lead, but Young answered, making both of his freebies putting Ohio State back up a point and with possession of the basketball.  After Chris Holtmann called timeout with 23.7 seconds to go, CJ Walker was fouled calmly nailed both free throws to put Ohio State on top 61-58 with 18 seconds to go and Michigan called back-to-back timeouts. Michigan worked the perimeter and a scramble on the baseline led to an open look for a corner 3 attempt but it clanged off target and out of bounds with less than a second to play securing the Ohio State win.

A huge win for the Buckeyes as any road win in the Big Ten is a big one.  It not only gives Ohio State some momentum after winning their third straight, it enables them to creep up in the conference standings and hopefully gain some confidence before heading on the road for one more before coming home for a pair.  They are now in a stretch of games where if they can string some wins together, they can jump right back into the thick of the conference race.  Playing their second game without D.J. Carton, the Buckeyes looked very composed and poised late in the basketball game to get a crucial road victory. It doesn’t get easier but some positive momentum can go a long way for the mindset of this basketball team and we’ll see how they build on this win.

The Buckeyes hit the hardwood again on Sunday in Madison, Wisconsin facing off with the Badgers.  Tip time scheduled for 1 pm and airing on CBS.

-Jason Harris

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