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Slow start dooms Buckeyes in 64-57 loss to Michigan

After nearly 10 minutes, the Ohio State men’s basketball team had seven points, while Zak Irvin had eight.

Irvin, a sophomore guard, and the Michigan Wolverines jumped out to an early 19-7 lead before holding on to top the No. 24 Buckeyes, 64-57, Sunday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich.

After falling behind by 20 in the first half, OSU (19-8, 8-6) pulled within three late, but the Wolverines (14-13, 7-8) held on to force a split of their season series with the Buckeyes.

On Saturday, OSU senior guard Shannon Scott said earning a bye at the Big Ten Tournament was a top priority for the Buckeyes.

“We know we want to be a top-four team so we can get a bye for the Big Ten Tournament, but we don’t think about that as we play,” Scott said. “We just want to play our best basketball.”

The loss to Michigan means the Buckeyes are now tied with Indiana for fifth in the conference. OSU and the Hoosiers split their season series, but the Buckeyes have just four regular season games to improve their stock before the tournament.

OSU didn’t register a point until the 16:15 mark in the first half, when freshman forward Jae’Sean Tate converted a layup. The Buckeyes missed their first four shot attempts, while Michigan connected on three of its first four.

Michigan’s 7-0 start eventually ballooned all the way to 31-11 with 6:36 on the first-half clock. OSU closed the half on a 12-8 run, but the Wolverines took a 16-point lead into the locker rooms.

OSU freshman guard D’Angelo Russell drew first blood in the second half with an early 3-pointer, but Michigan tacked on a long ball of its own just 38 seconds later.

Russell completed a three-point play to pull OSU back within 12 with 11:11 to play, then added a 3-pointer to pull the Buckeyes within single digits for the first time since early in the first half. He continued to carry the offense with a layup, making the score 49-42 at the under-8 timeout.

Two free-throws by sophomore forward Marc Loving and a jumper by freshman forward Keita Bates-Diop made it a three-point game with less than seven minutes to go, but Irvin responded with a 3-pointer to double Michigan’s advantage.

OSU missed three straight free throws with less than three minutes to play. The Wolverines countered with an Irvin layup and two free throws by junior guard Spike Albrecht to make it a double-digit game with under a minute to go.

Russell (16 points) and Bates-Diop (12 points) were the only Buckeyes to score in double figures as OSU shot just 42 percent from the field.

Albrecht tied Russell for the game high with 16 points to go with four rebounds and five assists, while Irving tallied 15 points and seven rebounds in the win.

The Buckeyes are now 3-7 away from home, while they hold a 16-1 record in Columbus.

OSU is scheduled to return to the court against Nebraska on Thursday to start a streak of two straight home games for the first time since January. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.


  1. why does thad continue to start that slug a williams .he never shows any energy

  2. I would like to see Coach Matta start Russell, Tate, Scott, Thompson and Bates-Diop. Does anyone know the status of David Bell – listed as 6-10 center?

  3. OMG Cardale on ESPN with DOug Williams was soooooo good!!! Doug really schooled and corrected him when necessary!!! Congrats buckeyes for being the first CFB playoffs champs (luv you Condie)! hahaha

  4. David Bell is redshirting as the coaching staff feels that it is best to develop him since he is considered to be a bit raw. Plus, you have 3 senior centers on the team right now so it seems foolish to burn David Bell’s first year when you SHOULD be able to count on 10-15 points and 10-15 rebounds COLLECTIVELY by Williams, McDonald and Lee. Unfortunately, Lee has a groin injury that is taking a long time heal. Amir is, well… Amir. At least McDonald tries hard.

  5. This team just isn’t going to go very far, if they make the big dance, at all. There is no life, especially away from Columbus. Every year can’t be a smashing success, but you’d like to see your team play with fire and look like they care. On the road, for whatever reason, this just doesn’t happen. Losing to a good Michigan team is one thing. Losing to THIS Wolverine team is an embarrassment. They’ll win 20, again, but only because they’re playing 31 regular season games.

  6. No senior leadership. Sam plays a hell of a defense but not the leader. The others just don’t have it either. Tough to have to rely on freshman to be the leader. Just looks like the entire senior class has checked out.

  7. Bad loss for OSU considering that UM is depleted with injuries and has been losing. Moreover, OSU has best freshman guard and still couldn’t win.

    Matta did not seem to get team ready to play like Meyer gets the football team ready. Also Scott and Williams haven’t gotten much better over the years.

    OSU can do better now. Matta is a good coach who made OSU more than just FB school. But OSU is hot right now with football NC and should take advantage and get elite coach like Miller of AZ, Bennett of UVA or Ollie of Conn. OSU should better promote basketball & improve student section at Schottenstein Center.

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