First Thoughts From Ohio State's 70-60 Loss to Michigan
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a tale of two halves for Michigan, but not for Ohio State. The Wolverines scored 26 in the first and 44 in the second, while the Buckeyes scored 30 in each. Michigan did themselves 18 points better in the second half, and Ohio State had no way to keep up.
That is, the way Ohio State chose to try to keep up was never going to work. Even though the Buckeyes were able to drive to the basket routinely, they decided to jack up threes like it was a pre-game shootaround, and the result was a double-digit loss to a team that came into this game struggling.
This was a disappointing loss for the Buckeyes because it's another example of them not being able to defend their home court. What they have to make sure they do, however, is keep this loss from affecting them in their next game and the game after that.
Michigan Rebounded...And Then Some. I don't know if Michigan came away with every loose ball, but they sure came away with much more than their share. There were so many long rebounds in this game, and despite the Buckeyes getting their hands on many of them, it was the Wolverines who would end up with possession.
Michigan finished with 14 offensive rebounds en route to out-rebounding Ohio State 39-27. Michigan is not a big team. They are very similar to Ohio State in that way. So when they dominate the glass it's because they are doing the little things, and the Buckeyes are not.
Point guard Derrick Walton Jr. grabbed 10 rebounds. I'm going to guess it's a career high because I can't imagine a loose ball finding him as many times as it did tonight.
Why So Many Threes? Ohio State was 20-32 (62.5%) from two-point range and just 3-20 (15%) from three-point range, which begs the question of why the Buckeyes would ever stop driving the ball or getting into the paint.
The Michigan defense couldn't stop the drive, nor could they handle LaQuinton Ross down low. So what do the Buckeyes do? They go and forget themselves. Seven Buckeyes took at least one three-point attempt. Six of them didn't make any. Lenzelle Smith was the only player to hit a three pointer, and he finished 3-9, which means he also missed more than anybody else.
Ohio State was 1-10 from three in the first half and got away with it because Michigan couldn't hit any of their layups. In the second half, that changed, but Ohio State's shooting didn't. Actually, that's not true. Ohio State's three-point shooting doubled to 2-10.
The Buckeyes are going to be pretty tough to beat when Ross and Smith combine for 37 points, but when they also combine to shoot 3-13 from three-point range, that's too many empty possessions for a winning performance.
Not Very Helpful. The Buckeyes finished with just seven assists. It's one thing to finish with seven assists if you're driving to the basket repeatedly and laying the ball in like Ohio State was doing in the first half. But that's not what the bulk of this game was.
For a team to rack up assists, jump shots need to be made. This Buckeye team on the court tonight was not able to make those shots, and yet they kept taking them. This will be a game that Ohio State kicks themselves for losing.
Quick Thoughts. ... Simply, the Buckeyes didn't play well enough to beat a team that is more talented than they are. Sure, they could beat them the next time that they play them, but you just never know what you are going to get with this Ohio State team, and that's not a good thing. ... LaQuinton Ross deserves kudos for his work in the paint. He was strong and aggressive, and Michigan really had no answers for him, other than to leave shooters open on the perimeter to entice them to shoot. ... It's fun watching Aaron Craft and Nik Stauskas battle each other off the ball. Though nobody is really working hard to keep Craft from getting open. ... I don't know whether to categorize Ohio State's collapse in the second half as panic, or simply a lack of talent. It's probably a little bit of both, combined with Michigan simply have more talent on their side.
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