INDIANAPOLIS- An exhausted Ohio State Buckeyes team moved on to the finals of the Big Ten Tournament today with a 68 to 61 win over the Michigan Wolverines.Â Each team appeared streaky throughout the game, but in the end the superior talent of the Buckeye starters prevailed.
The Wolverines were in the game at the half, only trailing by 5.Â They were kept in the game with a combination of solid three point shooting and good ball security.Â The Wolverines shot 4-11 from three in the first half while only turning over the ball 3 times.Â However, the Wolverines had no answer for Ohio State senior, John Diebler who had 12 points in the first half alone.Â Diebler finished the game with 16 points.
The Buckeyes extended their lead to double digits part way through the second half, and Michigan wasnâ€™t able to recover.Â Despite a small run to bring the Ohio Stateâ€™s lead to only 4 with about 30 seconds left in the game, the Buckeyes eventually salted the game away at the free throw line.
What was especially perplexing about the game was Ohio Stateâ€™s substitution strategy.Â While leading by double digits in the last two minutes of the game, Thad Matta elected to keep all of his starters on the floor.Â It was clear that both Jared Sullinger and William Buford had little to no gas left in the tank by the end of the game, and on more than one occasion during Michiganâ€™s comeback didnâ€™t even make it to half court on a Michigan fast break.
The Wolverines were led by Darius Morris who scored 16 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. who scored 15. Â Zack Novak and Jordan Morgan each chipped in 6 a piece.
For the Buckeyes Jared Sullinger and William Buford each scored 14 points while Sullinger also managed to grab 13 boards.
Ohio State will now take on the winner of Michigan State and Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament finals on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.