As if the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s second loss over the past week wasn’t damaging enough for the Buckeyes’ postseason plans, Saturday’s loss hurt doubly, as it was rival Michigan doing the damage.
The No. 17-ranked Wolverines (20-7, 10-4 Big Ten) led the No. 6-ranked Buckeyes (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten) wire to wire, hanging on for a 56-51 victory at the Crisler Center. Michigan freshman guard Trey Burke scored a team-high 17 points to help pull his team into a second-place tie with OSU in the Big Ten conference standings.
Redshirt sophomore forward Jordan Morgan scored four points and six rebounds for Michigan, which led, 25-20, at halftime. The deficit could have been worse for OSU if not for the play of sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas.
Thomas tallied eight points and seven rebounds in the opening half to keep the Buckeyes within striking distance. Thomas eventually finished the game with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
After the break, the Wolverines continued to keep the pressure on the Buckeyes. Michigan extended its advantage to nine points in the second half.
OSU cut the deficit behind 17 points from Thomas in the half and 14 points from sophomore forward Jared Sullinger. The Buckeyes never got closer than three points as the Wolverines protected their lead and held on for the win.
OSU continues Big Ten play Tuesday against Illinois (16-11, 5-9 Big Ten) at the Schottenstein Center. The game, which will be televised on ESPN, is set for a 7 p.m. tip.