ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In the end, the Michigan basketball team couldn’t squeeze out a win against its archrival.
In Saturday’s 70-66 loss to Ohio State, Michigan tied the game twice in the final five minutes, first at 60-60 on Derrick Walton Jr.’s 3-pointer with 4:23 left, then at 63-63 with 2:23 left on D.J. Wilson’s 3-pointer.
However, Ohio State used its size and its experience — namely forwards Marc Loving (17 points), Jae’Sean Tate (13 points) and Trevor Thompson (13 points) — to outmuscle Michigan, which dropped its second consecutive loss, despite Walton’s game-high 25 points.
Here’s what Michigan coach John Beilein said following the loss to Ohio State:
On the outcome
“If you’re an Ohio State fan, it would probably be a really good basketball game. If you’re a Michigan basketball fan, not so much. The really good news is that they missed more shots. The bad news is, they got so many of those back. Some of that happens, and it’s not like a guy doesn’t box out. Now, there’s nothing to rebound, you can’t get to him because of your positioning and defense. You just can’t get there. It’s not like you turn and the guy gets a shot.
“That, and our turnovers in the first half. With Tate out of the game, we should have been up at the half. We let that get away, and from then on, we played catch-up.”
On his team’s comeback efforts
“I’m proud of the way the guys came back. They made two ties, around the four-minute mark and the two-minute mark. At that point, Tate and Loving got two baskets they can get, and that’s big. But Loving and Tate are a tough matchup for us, as is Thompson. Our front line was outmatched today. They just did a great job against our front line, and we’ve got to improve in that area.”
On Wilson and Moritz Wagner in foul trouble early in the second half
“We put them on the foul line 28 times. If they make 16, we win, but they’re a good foul-shooting team. But physically, Thompson has been down on that basket his whole life, and Mo hasn’t been there very much. It was a physical mismatch. And Tate has been there for three years. Not a good matchup for D.J. He couldn’t stop in those areas.
“It’s been more about guarding our yard. They were very effective, and we’ll see that again Tuesday (vs. Michigan State), and hopefully we’ll grow from it.”
On going 13 for 35 on 3-pointers
“The percentage was pretty good. Mo (Wagner) had open looks, but a couple of Mo’s shots hit the top of the rafters. We see he can really shoot the ball at those percentages. We wanted to drive the ball really hard in the paint. We had a package to throw the ball into Mo inside as much as we could. They took that right away and we didn’t do it sometimes, and he was in foul trouble so we couldn’t get as much of the post touches as we wanted to get. We did have some really good looks.”
On Michigan’s overall effort other than that of Walton
“I thought it was OK, for who we are. There’s no junkyard dogs out there. But I thought it was a great effort. But when you’re getting in foul trouble you’re not going to get a whole lot. Zak (Irvin) is still in a bit of a funk and I don’t know if it’s residual from the flu but he’s trying his tail off. but I thought our effort was fine.
“I don’t know if our basketball IQ was where it should be against this team. Some of the rebounds will not be about effort. It will be about the ball bouncing to them if they have really good positioning, or if it was just a bounce that mixes up some defense.”
On being overmatched physically by Ohio State
“We’ve got to go out in those situations where we can’t get by them with the bodies and where we are right now with the two bigs, what they do right now is they shoot threes pretty well. You might do that on offense to negate the twos you’re giving up. If you make a few of those you can win the game, but it doesn’t help the fact that those guys are young bucks in there, getting used to it. And they are going to get overmatched and and they’re going to get better. We’ve got to wait it out until they get there.”