COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team dropped a 64-54 decision to Ohio State (No. 13 AP, No. 12 ESPN/USA Today) at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio in the Wolverines' final regular-season road contest. The two teams played a tight battle in the first half with the Wolverines (18-8, 8-7 Big Ten) dominating the glass and holding the Buckeyes (21-4, 10-4 Big Ten) to just 29 percent (9-of-31) shooting. But Michigan's trouble getting its offense going coupled with a high number of turnovers allowed Ohio State's 52.0 percent second-half shooting to give the Buckeyes the win.
In his 12th start of the season, sophomore Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich.) led Michigan scorers with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting with one triple. With Ohio State's strong defensive pressure on senior Daniel Horton (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill HS) and junior Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS), Coleman stepped up to take the reigns as the prime shooting guard for the Wolverines, hitting both long-range and inside shots in 36 minutes of play.
Horton recorded 12 points for the Wolverines with nine of those tallies coming in the second half. In 38 minutes of play, Horton hit 4-of-16 from the floor with two triples and 2-of-2 from the free throw line while dishing off two assists and grabbing two steals.
Junior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) rounded out Michigan's trio of double-digit scorers, recording his ninth-career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sims was a prime factor for the Wolverines on both ends of the court, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor while maintaining a strong post-presence on the defensive side.
In addition to scoring performances, junior Brent Petway (McDonough Ga./Griffin HS) recorded a team-leading and career-best-tying 11 rebounds to go along with five points and one block. Petway's rebounding was instrumental in Michigan's control of the glass as he filled in for senior Graham Brown (Mio, Mich./Mio-AuSable HS) who was forced to sit the bench early in the second half after recording his fourth foul.
While the first contest between these two teams was a high-scoring shoot-out, the first half of their second meeting was controlled by defense. Both teams had trouble getting their shots to drop, as the Wolverines connected for just 34.4 percent shooting (10-of-29) while the Buckeyes managed just 29.0 percent (9-of-31).
The score stayed tight for the entire first half, with Michigan finding success inside early on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court. Though the Wolverines committed 13 first-half turnovers to OSU's five, their ability to control the glass limited Ohio State's second-chance opportunities while they were able to secure nine points off put-backs.
While Ohio State lived on the perimeter when the two teams met in Ann Arbor, it was obvious this game had a different feel right from the start. Michigan immediately began to pressure the ball inside and relied on its post players for scoring throughout the half, with all but five points -- a triple by Horton and a two-pointer from Coleman -- coming from Sims, Petway and Brown.
In the meantime, Michigan's pressure defense kept Ohio State off the scoreboard as the Buckeyes managed just nine shots from the floor with only two triples. The Wolverines held OSU to just one field goal in the final eight minutes of the half, with the Buckeyes' only saving grace coming on 5-of-6 shooting from the charity stripe. After a tightly-played first half, the two teams went into the locker rooms with Ohio State leading 27-22.
The second half began in favor of Ohio State as the Buckeyes pieced together a 10-4 run in the first five minutes of play. The major blow for the Wolverines came with just 18:33 on the clock as Brown recorded his fourth foul and was forced to take the bench. Brown had been a major contributor in the first half, recording seven points and seven rebounds and his absence hurt the Maize and Blue.
In addition to Brown's exit, the Wolverines hit just 2-of-6 from the floor over the first five minutes of the half and found themselves trailing by 10 (37-27). Though it looked as though the Buckeyes could run away with it, Michigan came back strong with a big triple by Harris to keep the Wolverines within striking distance.
U-M was able to close the gap to four (38-34) after buckets from Coleman and freshman Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS), but a shooting drought was soon to follow that would keep the Wolverines from establishing a solid lead. Though Ohio State managed just one basket over a four-minute span, the Wolverines hit just 1-of-9 shooting over that time to bail the Buckeyes out of poor shooting and keep themselves from taking over the lead.
With Michigan trailing 40-36 with 11:03 remaining, Ohio State found a stroke, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor with two triples in just under five minutes. While the Wolverines stayed in the thick of things with their post presence -- getting four points from Sims -- the Buckeyes began to pull away. In just under five minutes, OSU pieced together a 13-5 run to take a 16-point lead (57-41) with 5:58 remaining in the contest.
While the Wolverines continued to fight for the rest of the game, Ohio State continued to hit their shots to maintain their lead while taking time off the clock leading to Michigan falling 64-54 to Ohio State in its final regular-season road contest.
The Wolverines will close out the Big Ten regular season with a midweek bye followed with the regular season finale and U-M's Senior Day against Indiana, Saturday (March 4). The will feature a pregame ceremony for U-M's eight senior players. Tipoff is scheduled for a 2:31 p.m. start and the game will be part of the ESPN-Plus regional package.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423