Ohio State defeats Michigan 71-52 in Big Ten showdown
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Michigan has a history of overcoming double-digit deficits this season so the message in the Ohio State locker room at halftime was not to let up even with the Buckeyes on top by 15 points.
The Buckeyes responded and put the game away by scoring the first 13 points of the second half and defeated the Wolverines 71-52 on Tuesday.
D'Angelo Russell scored 21 points, Sam Thompson added 12 and Amir Williams 10 while Shannon Scott had eight assists to go along with seven points for the Buckeyes (14-4, 3-2 Big Ten).
Michigan (10-7, 3-2) rallied from 10 down in the second half Saturday against Minnesota, winning 62-57. The Wolverines trailed by 13 to Illinois in the second half on Dec. 30 before winning 73-65 in overtime.
''They've been down 10-15 points every game at halftime,'' Thompson said. ''We knew the game wasn't over.''
Any chance the Wolverines had of erasing a 39-24 halftime deficit was lost when they went cold and the Buckeyes took a 52-24 lead.
Neither team could score the first three minutes of the second half before the Buckeyes strung 13 in row. Four came via two Russell drives, another two points were inside by Amir Williams and Scott tossed the ball up for a Thompson slam and a 47-24 lead with 15:15 remaining.
Scott made a basket and free throw and Kam Williams followed with a bucket off a Scott assist and the lead reached 28.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines missed their first 13 shots before a rebound bucket by Max Bielfeldt 7 1/2 minutes into the final half.
''We didn't get any easy baskets,'' Michigan guard Caris LeVert said. ''They got a lot from transition. We didn't do what was necessary to stop them.''
LeVert scored 14 points and Zak Irvin had 11 for the Wolverines, who had a two-game winning streak end.
The Buckeyes weren't perfect in their offensive execution but they didn't need to be.
''Even when we had stretches where we weren't scoring we defended well,'' Ohio State coach Thad Matta said.
The game started well for Michigan. It led 14-13 on a rebound basket by Aubrey Dawkins but Ohio State's defense kicked in and the Buckeyes outscored the Wolverines 26-10 over the final 12 minutes.
Michigan guard Spike Albrecht said his team lacked energy at the start despite the early lead.
''We were coasting along the first four minutes then we stayed in the coast mode,'' he said.
A 3-pointer from Russell gave the Buckeyes a 16-14 lead to start a 15-2 run that included 11 straight points. Field goals from Amir Williams, Thompson, Kam Williams and a rebound bucket by Jae'Sean Tate made it 24-14 before LeVert stopped the streak with a trey.
But the Buckeyes' man press resulted in four points in seven seconds. Thompson's basket was followed by his steal and feed to Scott for a 30-17 advantage with 5:18 to play.
While the Wolverines responded with a 3-pointer by Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, that was followed by another Thompson steal, one of four by him in the first half, and pass to Tate for a 32-20 lead.
''We didn't play very well and they played very well,'' Michigan coach John Beilein said. ''We're better than that.''
During the game's first timeout, the Ohio State football team was recognized less than 24 hours after beating Oregon 42-20 in the inaugural College Playoff championship game in Arlington, Texas. No team members or coaches were present.
Michigan: LeVert, the Wolverines' leading scorer and rebounder, is from the Columbus suburb of Pickerington and attended Central High School along with Ohio State's Tate, who is a freshman. LeVert is a junior. LeVert and redshirt freshman forward Mark Donnal (Monclova) are the Ohioans on the roster
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have two players from Michigan - senior centers Trey McDonald (Battle Creek) and Amir Williams (Detroit). Williams has started 17 games this season; McDonald none.
Amir Williams had scored only 19 points in the first four Big Ten games before getting 10 against the Wolverines. He also contributed five rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes.
Michigan guard Derrick Walton Jr. was limited to eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. He went to the bench with 11:40 remaining after picking up his second. The Wolverines trailed 18-14. When he returned with 3:32 to go Michigan was behind 34-20. ''I don't think we'd be down 15 (at the half) if Derrick was in there all the time,'' Beilein said.
Michigan: The Wolverines host Northwestern on Saturday to start a stretch of three of four games in Crisler Arena. Michigan plays at Rutgers Jan. 20 in the first game against the Scarlet Knights since they joined the Big Ten. The Wolverines return home Jan. 24 vs. Wisconsin and three days later hosts Nebraska.
Ohio State: Tuesday was the lone home game of a five-game stretch. The Buckeyes won at Minnesota on Jan. 6 and lost at Indiana on Saturday in the most recent games. OSU returns to the road this Saturday against Iowa and goes to Northwestern on Jan. 22.