CHICAGO, Ill. -- The eighth-seeded University of Michigan men's basketball team's 2007 Big Ten Tournament journey ended with a 72-62 quarterfinal loss to No. 1 Ohio State Friday afternoon (March 9) at the United Center. The Wolverines fought to keep the game within reach for the majority of the contest, but the Greg Oden-led Buckeyes proved too strong in the end and pulled away over the final 10 minutes.
The Wolverines (21-12) were led by senior forward Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS), who helped the Wolverines establish a 47-25 rebounding advantage, with 12 boards and eight points. Senior wing Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) led the Maize and Blue with 13 points, while sophomore guard Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) chipped in 12. Oden, the Buckeyes freshman center, led his team with 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, including 15 points and six boards in the second half.
Ohio State took an early lead as the Wolverine offense struggled to find a rhythm. Oden scored four of his team's first six points, while a three-point basket from the top of the arc by senior Ron Lewis put the Buckeyes up 11-6 at 15:45.
Petway helped snap a three-minute Michigan scoring drought at 13:24 with an energetic dunk, keeping the game within five points. Petway's basket, set up by an assist from senior guard Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford HS), served as Michigan's first points from inside the lane since the first score of the game.
Michigan's slow start from the field gave Ohio State a chance to build an early lead. Oden's put-back at 8:42 put OSU up 18-12. Buckeyes freshman guard Daequan Cook then made it 20-12 seconds later, stripping the ball from a Michigan player underneath the OSU basket and finishing a coast-to-coast drive with lay-in over several Wolverine hands.
Michigan fought back to close the gap to 24-22 with a 10-4 run in response, assisted by U-M's early control of the boards. Abram scored five quick points, including a three-pointer at 6:19, while Petway put an exclamation point on the run with an athletic finish to Harris' alley-oop feed. The Wolverines out-rebounded Ohio State by a 21-8 margin in the first half, limiting second chances for the Buckeyes.
Harris pulled U-M within one point, 26-25, with his lone three of the game at 3:24, but the Buckeyes closed the half with an 8-4 scoring advantage to take a five-point lead into the locker room.
Ohio State opened the second half with an extra dose of Oden. The freshman big man was targeted to begin each of the Buckeyes' offensive possessions to begin the half, scoring four of OSU's first eight points to help OSU open up a 42-32 lead in the first four minutes.
Once the game settled down, Michigan's set offense chipped away at the deficit. Abram and Smith connected on back-to-back threes to pull the Wolverines within six, 45-39, at 13:18. The Buckeyes remained resilient, forcing Michigan to call a timeout with 11:00 remaining after Cook and Lewis scored a pair of quick baskets to establish a 50-41 hold on the game.
Smith's three-pointer at 9:36 broke a 2:30 scoring drought before a technical foul called on Ohio State coach Thad Motta allowed Harris the chance to sink a pair of free throws, bringing the score to 50-46.
Oden's strong inside play continued, as his presence on the inside forced Michigan's shooters to find room on the perimeter. A three-pointer from Abram at 7:51 split up seven points from Oden, on three inside hoops and a free throw, as OSU began to pull away with a 57-49 lead at 6:44.
Michigan attempts to chip away at the lead, highlighted by a strong Petway slam in traffic at 2:22 to make the score 68-60, were unable to close the gap, and Ohio State earned its place in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals with the 72-62 victory.
The Wolverines will now await the announcement of their postseason fate by either the NCAA or NIT selection committees Sunday, March 11, at 6 or 9 p.m. EDT, respectively.
Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423