Ohio State erases 20-point deficit, knocks off rival Michigan
(AP) Down by 20 just before halftime Monday night, Ohio State stormed back and dominated Michigan in the second half on the way to a 71-62 victory.
The Buckeyes (7-3, 2-0 Big Ten) sprinted out on a blistering 19-3 run to begin the second half, following a 7-0 burst to end the first. A Kam Williams jumper with 3:32 left in the game tied it at 60. Ohio State turned up the defensive pressure and hit 11 free throws in the last 2:15 to pull away and complete the comeback.
“We knew in the first half if we kept playing like that, we would have gotten run out of the gym,” Williams said. “You definitely don’t want that in front of your home fans. We just made little adjustments, played a little harder.”
Keita Bates-Diop scored 18 and C.J. Jackson added 17 to pace Ohio State, which beat Wisconsin by 25 points on Saturday.
Moritz Wagner led the way for Michigan with 14 points, and Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each added 11.
The Wolverines (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten) shot a dismal 17.2 percent in the second half, after hitting 56.7 percent in the first.
“As good as we were in the first 18 minutes of the first half, we were just equally as bad in the second half,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We couldn’t make a basket or couldn’t really make a bright play in that time.”
Michigan led 43-30 at the half with six different players hitting a 3-pointer, and Wagner hitting 2 of 3 attempts. Michigan led by as many as 20 in the half, but the 7-0 run – capped by a monster dunk by JaeSean Tate – pulled it closer. The Buckeyes took over after that.
Michigan: After beating Indiana by 14 on Saturday, the Wolverines shot poorly in the second half and lost a big lead.
“We couldn’t score and we couldn’t stop them,” Beilein said. “We could have had this win today. We just did not play well in the second half.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes switched up some defensive looks at halftime, came on strong and roared back to flatten their rival.
“For us to be able to defend them like we did in the second half was terrific,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said.
ROCKING THE ARENA
When the Buckeyes were rolling back, Williams said the crowd at Value City Arena was as loud as he’s heard in his previous three seasons in Columbus.
Holtmann, the Buckeyes’ first year coach, got a taste of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. The crowd energy in the second half was exciting, he said.
“I’m sure who we played had something to do with it,” Holtmann said. “I’m sure us getting down 20 had something to do with it.”
Ohio State played its sixth game in 12 days. … Tate started at point guard for the second straight game for the Buckeyes, with Jackson coming in off the bench. … The Wolverines are in a stretch where they play North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio State, UCLA and Texas in five straight games. … Ohio State led in the game for only 8:05, compared to 28:20 for Michigan. … Duncan Robinson fouled out for Michigan just before the end of the game. He finished with three points. … The Buckeyes were 0 for 6 from 3-point range during their comeback in the second half, after a 5-for-8 effort in the first frame.
Michigan: Hosts UCLA on Saturday.
Ohio State: Hosts William & Mary on Saturday.