Ohio State has experience this season blowing double-digit deficits. The Buckeyes flipped the script on Monday night.
Despite trailing by as many as 20 to Michigan in the first half at Value City Arena, Ohio State was able to knock off the Wolverines, 71-62, thanks to superior second half defense and hot shooting from the floor.
After turning the ball over seven times in the first half alone, Ohio State protected the ball in the second half and shot the ball lights out. The Buckeyes connected on 10 of their first 13 shots from the floor to open the second half, while holding the Wolverines to an ice-cold 17.2 percent at the other end in the second frame.
Despite cooling off from the floor in the later minutes of the second half, Ohio State was able to connect on 17 of 21 free throws in the final 20 minutes to close the game out.
After trailing by as many as 20 in the first half, Ohio State went into the locker room trailing by 13. The Buckeyes opened the second half on an 15-3 run after closing the opening frame with a 7-0. After shooting nearly 60 percent in the first half, Michigan missed its first four shots of the second, while Ohio State opened a perfect 5-for-5 with baskets from four different players.
|22-45 (48.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||22-59 (37.3%)|
|5-14 (35.7%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8-28 (28.6%)|
|22-29 (75.9%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||10-14 (71.4%)|
The Buckeyes took their first lead of the game with 12:29 to play in the game on a pair of free throws from Keita Bates-Diop, putting Ohio State in front, 47-46. Ohio State's run from the end of the first half into the second expanded to as many as 26-3, before a three-point play from Jon Teske ended the Michigan drought and knotted the game at 49 with 11:15 to play.
After taking a 56-51 lead, Ohio State surrendered a 9-0 run to the Wolverines, putting Michigan back on top 60-56 with 4:54 to play. Jae'Sean Tate ended the Wolverine run with a left-handed hook in the lane moments later, which was followed by a jumper from Kam Williams, once again knotting the game, this time at 60.
Five free throws from C.J. Jackson and Bates-Diop followed, as Ohio State took a 65-60 lead with 1:46 to play. Tate forced a Michigan turnover with 1:08 to play and Michigan never regained the lead.
The first half saw Michigan jump out to a 9-3 lead that swelled to 19-10 just more than halfway through the opening frame. After Ohio State cut the Wolverine lead to six at 22-16, the visitors went on a 14-1 run to extend their lead to 34-17, punctuated by a a pair of free throws from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Michigan's lead swelled all the way to 43-23 before Ohio State closed the first half on a 7-0 run, a stretch that was capped by a sweeping right-handed dunk from Tate.
Tate finished the game with 14 points, passing Ohio State legend John Havlicek on Ohio State's all-time scoring list, ranking him 35th in program history.
For the second straight game, Williams started in place of C.J. Jackson as Tate assumed the starting point guard role. Micah Potter did not play for the third time this season, as it was announced prior to tip that the sophomore center will be out indefinitely with a lingering ankle injury.
The Buckeyes are set to return to action Saturday against William and Mary, with tip set for noon from Value City Arena.