Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan looked as if it had traded places to start their first matchup of the season.
The Buckeyes, having won once in all of January, came out with a torrid offense, shooting 50 percent from the field. The Wolverines, winning 33 of their past 35 games dating back to the 2017-18 season, were shooting 39.4 percent from the field.
But the game was tied at 19 with 8:10 to go in the first half, with Ohio State allowing Michigan opportunities after turning the ball over five times in that stretch compared to the Wolverines’ one.
The Wolverines settled in late in the first half, going to the locker room scoring seven unanswered points, which Ohio State never recovered from. The Buckeyes, allowing Michigan to shoot 44 percent in the second half, fell 65-49 to the fifth-ranked team in the country in their only matchup of the regular season.
The loss was the largest of the season for Ohio State, and the fewest points the Buckeyes have scored this season.
Michigan and Ohio State returned to its respective roles in the second half as the Buckeyes shot 30 percent from the field, making 2-of-12 from 3.
But the Wolverines navigated Ohio State switching between man and zone defense, attempting 26 3-pointers in the game, connecting on 41.7 percent in the second half.
However, Ohio State’s deficit was caused by mistakes the team made in the first half.
The Buckeyes finished the first half with 11 turnovers, with sophomore guard Musa Jallow, freshman guard Luther Muhammad and redshirt senior guard Keyshawn Woods combining for seven.
This hurt Ohio State late in the half, allowing Michigan sophomore guard Jordan Poole to steal the ball, passing it to senior guard Charles Matthews on a fastbreak who, after grabbing an offensive board after missing his first attempt, connected on a layup, giving the Wolverines a 32-26 lead to end the half.
Ohio State finished the game with 19 turnovers with five players recording multiple turnovers.
Early on, the Buckeyes showed some consistency with its offense. Sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson and senior guard C.J. Jackson combined for 18 of the 26 first-half points, making 7-of-11 from the field.
But like the rest of the Ohio State offense, both Jackson and Wesson cooled off drastically in the second half, combining to make 2-of-7 attempts from the field.
Jackson finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds, adding four assists.
Wesson added a team-leading 12 points with seven rebounds, but struggled again with foul troubles, fouling out with five, including a technical foul after a scuffle in the second half.
But neither Wesson nor Jackson on the perimeter could contain Michigan junior guard Zavier Simpson, finishing the game with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, recording his first triple-double of his career and the sixth in team history.
Ohio State will return home Saturday to take on Rutgers at noon.