Wolverines Shoot Down Buckeyes

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Last updated: 03/16/2014 1:15 AM
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Men's Basketball
Wolverines Shoot Down Buckeyes

By John Porentas

Sometimes the other guys just have a better day than you.

That was true in OSU's 72-69 loss to arch-rival Michigan (25-7) in the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines were better in just in one category, but it was enough to carry them to a three-point win in a hotly contested game.

The Buckeyes (25-9) scored more points in the paint (32-18), more second chance points (8-6), more points off turnovers (20-17), more fast break points (16-7), had more rebounds (31-26), more assists (17-15), fewer turnovers (12-11), and shot free throws better (66.7 percent, 52.6 percent). That was all trumped by blazing shooting from three point range by the Wolverines where they made 12 of 23 (52.2 percent).

When the game began it looked like the Wolverines would shoot the Buckeyes right out of the building. The Wolverines hit seven of the first nine threes they attempted to establish a 27-16 lead at the 9:17 mark of the first half. They went on to build a 16 point lead at 7:39 and looked for the world like the Buckeyes had no chance to ever be in the game.

"They started off five-for-five or something like that," said OSU senior guard Aaron Craft.

"Some of them were open and some of them were contested. We wanted to limit the open ones, and they made a contested one, he made one off the backboard, what can you do?"

The Buckeyes decided that what they could do is fight back.

Three-consecutive possessions saw three-consecutive threes by the Buckeyes. First it was freshman Mark Loving, then Shannon Scott, and then Aaron Craft all connecting from long range and suddenly Michigan's 16 point lead was down to 12. When the half came to a close OSU had cut Michigan's lead to just four at 42-37. What once had looked like it was going to be a serious rout was now a game.

The Wolverines must not have liked that, because they came out blazing again in the second half, making four-straight threes to start the half and take an 11 point lead at 50-39, but OSU again wouldn't go away. The whittled away at the Michigan lead and finally took their first lead of the game on am Thompson dunk that put them up 61-60 with just under eight minutes left to play.

OSU led 68-65 with 4:12 remaining, but went stone cold the rest of the way. The Buckeyes managed to score just free throw over the last 4:12. Along the way they missed two layups, three free throws, and three open jump shots. Michigan wasn't doing a whole lot better, but converted three free throws and a layup to take a 72-69 lead.

The Buckeyes had the last possession but the ball came out of Aaron Craft's hand for a turnover as he attempted to line up a desperation three point attempt.

""I feel so fortunate right now," said Michigan Head Coach John Beilein.

"You look at so many of our games down the stretch here, they've all ended just like this and the ball keeps bouncing our way."

 

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