The Ohio State men’s basketball team picked up its second road win in conference play this season, beating Michigan 70-66 on Saturday night.
With the win, the Buckeyes move to 14-10 overall, with a 4-7 record in the Big Ten. The Wolverines, meanwhile, fall to 14-9 and 4-6 in conference play.
How it happened
Opening the game on a 7-0 run, Michigan extended its lead to as many as 11 points in the game’s opening six minutes, and Ohio State appeared headed toward another road blowout. Unlike a week ago at Iowa, however, the Buckeyes bounced back, using a 14-4 run over the course of 4:14 to take a 36-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Ohio State then opened the second half on an 11-5 run, taking a 47-39 lead on a pair of Jae’Sean Tate free throws with 14:46 remaining in the game. Having made just two of its nine 3-point attempts in the first half, the Buckeyes started the second half forcing the ball inside, which led to foul trouble for the Wolverines, and Ohio State spent the game’s final 14:47 in the bonus.
A C.J. Jackson jumper at the 7:07 mark maintained the Buckeyes’ eight-point lead, but Michigan scored seven straight points, cutting Ohio State’s lead to one on a pair of D.J. Wilson free throws with 5:25 left in the game. After Tate pushed the Buckeyes’ advantage back to three with a jumper, Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. tied the game at 60 with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
Tate, however, wouldn’t be denied, bullying his way into the lane and giving Ohio State a 62-60 lead with four minutes remaining in the game. The junior forward then split a pair of free throws to bump the Buckeyes’ lead to three, with Wilson tying the game at 63 from long distance at the 2:23 mark.
Marc Loving answered on the ensuing possession, giving Ohio State a two-point lead on a running hook shot with 1:53 left in the game. Walton missed a layup — and follow up tip-in attempt — with 32 seconds remaining, each of which would have tied the game.
After JaQuan Lyle made a pair of free throws, Walton cut the Buckeyes’ lead back to one with a 3-pointer with 26.9 seconds left on the clock. Lyle then split a pair of free throws before Walton missed a baseline jumper that would have tied the game on the ensuing possession.
Loving then sealed the game at the free-throw line.
What it means for Ohio State basketball
Michigan is far from a great team, but beating the Wolverines marks one of the Buckeyes’ more important victories of the 2016-17 campaign Entering Saturday’s contest, Ohio State was riding a two-game losing streak and saw its NCAA Tournament hopes continuing to slip away.
Beating Michigan won’t necessarily move the Buckeyes any closer to the bubble with seven games remaining in Big Ten play, but it will keep OSU from drifting any further from the tournament picture than it already was.
Center Trevor Thompson scored 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, marking his eighth double-double of the season. He was joined in double-digit scoring by Loving (17) and Tate (13).
Although he helped seal the game from the free-throw line, Lyle’s struggles from the field continued. Coming off the bench as Thad Matta moved Jackson into the Buckeyes’ starting lineup, Lyle scored 3 points on 0-of-2 shooting in 22 minutes of action.
What’s next for Ohio State basketball
The Buckeyes will return to action on Wednesday, when they host Rutgers in a 7 p.m. ET tipoff at Value City Arena. Following Saturday’s 70-68 victory over Penn State, the Scarlet Knights lay claim to a 13-11 record on the season, including a 2-9 mark in Big Ten play.
Wednesday’s game between Ohio State and Rutgers will be on the Big Ten Network.