The game started fairly auspiciously. Nik Stauskas hit a three.
Then Glenn Robinson III hit a three.
Then Caris LeVert hit a three.
Say Michigan got a Game Genie. Say they were "On Fire". Say "it must be the shoes". Say whatever you want, but Michigan was absolutely unconscious from three in the first half, hitting seven of their first nine, and 8/13 overall, a display that would be just a little too much for the Buckeyes to handle, as Michigan staved off another Buckeye comeback, 72-69.
Six different Wolverines hit three point buckets, with Zak Irvin and Nik Stauskas each hitting two. The lead ballooned to as much as 16, before the Buckeyes managed to close it to four at halftime, thanks to a 21-9 run to close out the half. Michigan went into the game with a gaudy 16-1 record when leading at the half, and would push that to 17-1.
Unlike previous games, Ohio State actually shot fairly well in the first half. They got a career performance from Shannon Scott, (0 pts, 4 dimes, 2 steals, 2 threes), and shot 51.9% from the floor, 4-6 from downtown, and 5-6 from the line.
Michigan then started the second half, how else, by hitting a three, to push the margin to 44-37, and then hit another on their next possession, to stretch the lead to eight points, and then another, pushing their long range shooting further into the range of the hyperbolic.
The Buckeyes trailed 56-48 at the 13:00 mark, clawing back a little after Michigan's early run, but Craft played with 3 fouls, and Sam Thompson sat after picking up his third. Scott hit a three out of a timeout (that benefited from a very fortunate roll) to pull the Buckeyes back within four. Craft then picked up his forth foul though, sending him to the bench with over 11 left in the game.
The Buckeyes kept battling though, ripping off a 13-2 run, where Michigan missed six shots in a row, to pull within a single point thanks to a LaQuinton Ross tough finish inside, 58-57. With 7:54, a Scott to Thompson oop finally gave the Buckeyes a lead, 61-60. A Jordan Morgan free throw tied the game.
Ohio State took a 68-67 lead into a timeout with 3:45 left, with Craft getting back on the floor a few seconds later. He promptly missed two free throws, which allowed Michigan to extend their lead to 71-68 with 2:00 left, and then missed a three pointer.
Down three with 52.7 seconds left, Ross was denied going to the rim, but was able to get to the line, only to miss the first free throw, giving Michigan the ball and a 71-69 lead. After letting the shot clock tick down, Stauskas missed a three, but Michigan came up with the offensive rebound, sending Spike to the line, where he hit one of two free throws.
Ohio State had a chance to tie, as Aaron Craft drove down the length of the court, but lost control of the ball as he was going up for the shot attempt, letting the clock expire.
Perhaps Ohio State would have benefited from keeping Craft on the bench, as his missed free throws and late game mistakes proved costly for the Buckeyes. The other culprits for the game were all too familiar for Ohio State fans though. Questionable team free throw shooting (8-12 on the game, but three of those four misses came in the game's final minutes), poor three point shooting from Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross, and turnovers (11).
Ohio State's offense did stagnate a little, but Shannon Scott unquestionably had the best game in his career. His four three pointers helped spur the Ohio State comeback, and his 18 points tied for second best in the game high. He also added five rebounds, six dimes and three steals. LaQuinton Ross, three point shooting notwithstanding, continued his strong Big Ten Tournament, with his game high 19 points, and six rebounds. Ohio State shot a more than respectable 48% from the floor, and held a 31-26 rebounding advantage.
In the end, Michigan's strong shooting was just a little too much to overcome. The team finished 10-19 from downtown, and 53% from the floor. Nik Stauskas led the team with 18 points on 6-12 shooting, and Caris LeVert added 17. Glenn Robinson III had 11, along with three steals.
Michigan will advance to the Big Ten Title Game, which, for the first time since 2008, will not feature Ohio State. The Wolverines will face either Wisconsin or Michigan State, while Ohio State is left to wait for their bracket pairing. The Buckeyes are most likely to be slotted in as a 5 seed, but a 6 seed is also on the table.
|SMITH JR.,LENZELLE *||3||2||1||4||3||1||3||1||7||1||2||4||29||4|
|ROBINSON III,GLENN *||11||1||1||2||3||2||1||4||8||2||2||1||2||36|
|WALTON JR,DERRICK *||8||4||5||2||3||1||3||6||2||3||29||1|