Ohio State Overwhelms Michigan, 84-61, On Senior Day For Third Straight Victory

By Andy Anders on March 3, 2024 at 6:21 pm

Ohio State's archrival couldn't slow the Buckeyes' roll on Sunday.

Michigan couldn't slow Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bruce Thornton, who scored 17 and 15 points. It couldn't slow Ohio State in transition, where the Scarlet and Gray held a 22-2 advantage. It couldn't slow Ohio State from the field in the second half, where the Buckeyes shot a gaudy 71.4%.

MICHIGAN 27 34 61
OHIO STATE 32 52 84

For the first time since Jan. 20, the Buckeyes (18-12, 8-11 Big Ten) sped to a double-digit victory, demolishing Michigan (8-22, 3-16) 84-61 on Senior Day in the Schottenstein Center.

Ohio State smoked Michigan 52-34 in the second half. Gayle led the way in the second half, collecting 11 points.

Dale Bonner and Zed Key led Ohio State’s Senior Day honorees with 10 and nine points. Key added two blocks and two steals and Jamison Battle pitched in eight points.

With Rutgers’ loss to Nebraska on Sunday, the Buckeyes can earn a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament if they beat Rutgers on the road next Sunday.

First half

Zed Key brought the energy up in a packed Value City Arena right away, pump-faking and driving from outside the arc to throw down a massive one-handed slam that got the crowd to join in his signature "Raise the Roof" celebration.

Ohio State's defense stifled Michigan in the opening stretches as the Buckeyes built a 10-2 lead. The Wolverines scored two points and shot 1-of-7 in the first seven minutes.

The Buckeyes went five minutes without a field goal of their own and Michigan went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 10-9. But Ohio State countered with a 7-0 run of its own, getting a turnaround jumper from Key, a dunk from Devin Royal and a triple from Battle to go up 17-9 with 9:03 to play in the first half.

Trailing 21-13, Michigan launched a quick 8-2 run to cut its deficit back to two. Thornton answered with a dunk, then Michigan’s Terrance Williams II knocked down a left-corner three to make it a 25-24 ballgame.

Felix Okpara added another giant flush to Ohio State's growing repertoire of dunks against the Wolverines off an alley-oop feed, and in combination with layups from Thornton and Gayle, he helped the Buckeyes push their lead back to three scores at 32-25. Dug McDaniel sliced the edge to five before halftime with a second-chance lay-in.

84 POINTS 61
27-48 (56.3%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 20-55 (36.4%)
5-12 (41.7%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 5-18 (27.8%)
25-31 (80.6%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 16-22 (72.7%)

Second half

Ohio State assumed quick control to open the second period, launching a 10-0 run that featured two more dunks with two more raisings of the roof from the friendly crowd.

Michigan answered back with a 7-0 run, but a mid-range jumper from Battle stabilized the lead at double-digits, 46-36, with 13:26 remaining. After Michigan cut the lead to 46-40, a triple from Scotty Middleton and an old-fashioned three-point play from Gayle made it 52-40 in short order.

Thornton and Gayle kept things rolling for the Buckeyes. Thornton hit his first three-pointer of the game in four tries and Gayle followed that up with yet another three-point play the old-fashioned way, pushing Ohio State's lead to 60-47 as the clock wound under nine minutes.

The Buckeyes led by double digits from that point onward. That understates the dominance that was on display in the game's final stretches, however. Ohio State made Michigan look more like a high school junior varsity outfit than a Big Ten basketball team for the final seven minutes, headlined by a 14-0 run that concluded with seven consecutive fastbreak points.

Up 76-52 with 3:31 to play, the Buckeyes subbed in all of their seniors, including walk-on Owen Spencer, who started his first career game in his final contest at home. The seniors walked off to a standing ovation with 2:37 remaining as Key gave a heart sign to the crowd.

What's next

Ohio State concludes its regular season by traveling to Piscataway, N.J. to play Rutgers next Sunday, March 10. The game will tip off at 2 p.m. and will be televised by Big Ten Network.

Game notes

  • Michigan freshman guard George Washington III, who originally committed to play at Ohio State, played nine minutes with one rebound.
  • Middleton is now 8-of-14 from three across Ohio State's last five games.
  • Ohio State forward Kalen Etzler made his first appearance in a Big Ten game during the final two minutes of play. Walk-on Colby Baumann also saw his first conference action alongside Spencer.
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