Deshaun Thomas scored 20 points as No. 15/14 Ohio State knocked off their arch-rival and handed No. 2 Michigan their first loss of the season while denying the Wolverines the possibility of being No. 1 in the next polls with a 56-53 win at Value City Arena on Sunday.
The Buckeyes scored 16 of the game’s first 19 points to claim a double-digit advantage and led by as many as 21 in the first half following a free throw by Amir Williams with 6:52 left that made the score 29-8 in favor of Ohio State.
But Michigan methodically got back into the game, slowly chipping away at the Buckeyes’ lead. The Wolverines trailed 34-22 at halftime after OSU went 14-of-27 (51.9%) from the field, while UM hit just 7-of-19 (36.8%). Ohio State also got 16 points off of nine Michigan turnovers in the first 20 minutes of action.
In the second half, the Buckeyes still led by double figures after Thomas took the ball to the rack and threw down a monster one-hand jam with 10:10 to go that put OSU ahead 44-33. Unfortunately from that point, the Wolverines went on a 10-0 run capped off on a three-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. that made it a one-point game. After an awesome alley-oop dunk by Sam Thompson (click here to see the video), Michigan came right back with a triple from Glenn Robinson III that tied the contest at 46-all with 5:59 left.
Luckily, Ohio State got off the mat and went on a mini 6-0 run of their own and led by at least four points until Lenzelle Smith Jr. turned the ball over and Robinson scored on a breakaway dunk to make it 52-50 with 1:14 remaining.
After Thomas misfired on a jumper in the lane with 48 seconds left, Michigan had a chance to tie or take the lead on their next trip down the floor, but Trey Burke couldn’t connect on a deep three with Aaron Craft’s hand in his face, then Smith climbed the ladder for the defensive rebound and was fouled by Robinson. Smith converted a pair charity-stripe tosses to put Ohio State up 54-50 with 11.9 seconds to go.
With under eight seconds left, Burke missed another three-pointer and Craft came down with the rebound and he was fouled. His two free throws with six seconds remaining put the Buckeyes ahead 56-50 and that was the ball game.
Along with Thomas’ 20 points, Craft and Thompson each poured in nine, while Smith totaled four points and 10 rebounds for Ohio State’s second-straight win.
After hitting 51.9 percent from the field in the first half, Ohio State shot just 34.8 percent (8-23) over the final 20 minutes. Overall, the Buckeyes were 22-of-50 (44.0%) from the floor and 5-of-15 (33.3%) from beyond the arc.
Burke led Michigan with 15 points and Hardaway added 12 on 5-of-15 shooting in the setback for the Wolverines, who shot just 38.3 percent (18-47) as a team for the game.
Up next, Ohio State travels to East Lansing to take on No. 22 Michigan State on Saturday. Tip-off at the Breslin Center is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on ESPN.