ANN ARBOR, Mich. — It became a down-to-the-wire affair for the Michigan basketball team, and the Wolverines couldn’t find a final gear.
In a 70-66 loss to Ohio State on Saturday at the Crisler Center, Michigan tied the game twice in the final five minutes but couldn’t capitalize in the first of its final possessions with 40 seconds left, missing a layup attempt and then a rebound put-back by Derrick Walton Jr.
Walton, however, hit a 3-pointer with 26.6 seconds left that appeared to give the Wolverines some life, closing the gap to 67-66. But Ohio State made three of its final four free throws to secure the win.
Michigan (14-9, 4-6 Big Ten Conference) took a 16-8 lead less than five minutes in, as all five of Michigan’s starters scored points in the first five minutes, including Zak Irvin, who scored five points in that span.
Yet each time Michigan opened up a lead in the first half, Ohio State (14-10, 4-7) cut it down. C.J. Jackson hit a pair of free throws on a 1-and-1 with 3:46 left to cut Michigan’s lead to 31-29. Then Marc Loving (17 points) missed two inside shots before Trevor Thompson tied it at 31-31 with 2:25 left.
Walton answered with a 3-pointer, but the Buckeyes continued to pester, and Loving gave Ohio State its first lead (36-34) with less than 40 seconds left on a pair of free throws.Walton missed the second of two free throws with 28 seconds left, and his heave from just beyond half court bounced off the rim at the buzzer, leaving Ohio State with a 36-35 lead at halftime.
D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner got into foul trouble in the first 1:10 of the second half after combining for eight points in the first half, as Ohio State opened its lead to 41-35.
Ohio State entered the bonus less than eight minutes into the second half, and led by as many as six points, but the Wolverines tied it at 60-60 on Walton’s 3-pointer with 4:23 left.
What it means for Michigan
Michigan drops to 4-6 in a conference that’s been defined by parity so far — and not necessarily the good kind. Nine of 14 teams on Saturday were either at or below .500. Michigan also missed an opportunity to earn a win over its traditional rival.
Who starred for Michigan
Walton led Michigan with 25 points, including 16 in the second half, and would have had 28 points had his half-court attempt just before halftime not bounced out.
Who stumbled for Michigan
In the first half, Michigan’s game on the boards. The Buckeyes had 20 rebounds to Michigan’s eight, including 10 offensive rebounds, and scored 10 points off second chances in the first half. Ohio State finished with 42 rebounds to Michigan’s 24.
Who is next for Michigan
Michigan hosts Michigan State at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday at the Crisler Center.