COLUMBUS — Just like football, the Ohio State (7-3, 2-0) men’s basketball team used a 31-6 run to overcome a double-digit deficit to defeat the Michigan Wolverines (7-3, 1-1) Monday night at Value City Arena.
Instead of 14 points like the football team, however, the basketball team actually found themselves down 43-23 in the first half. The Buckeyes outscored UM 48-19 the rest of the way to earn a 71-62 win and move to 2-0 in conference play.
Ohio State was led by veterans Keita Bates-Diop (18 pts, 9 rebs), C.J. Jackson (17 pts, 6 rebs, 4 asts, 2 tos), and Jae’Sean Tate (14 pts, 4 rebs).
For the second game in a row, Tate got the start at point guard for the Buckeyes, with Jackson coming off of the bench. After a rousing start Saturday at Wisconsin, however, OSU had the complete opposite result this time around.
Michigan got out to a quick start, and held a lead that fluctuated from 3-7 points over the game’s first 10 minutes. It was a 14-1 run over a 4-minute stretch that gave Michigan a 19-point lead at 36-17. Back-to-back threes from Bates-Diop and Kam Williams cut the lead to 13 points, but Michigan built it right back up to 20 with a 7-0 run.
And then the game finally began to turn.
Trailing by 20 points with 1:31 remaining in the half, Bates-Diop hit a three, freshman center Kaleb Wesson added two free throws, and then Tate went around the entire Michigan defense for a thunderous dunk to make it 43-30 at the half. The Buckeyes scored the first nine points of the second half and it was then anybody’s game.
After a couple of missed jumpers to try and take the lead, it was a pair of free throws by Bates-Diop that finally put Ohio State on top at 47-46. The comeback was complete.
Except it wasn’t.
Even after building a 5-point lead, the Buckeyes weren’t able to keep the lead, and Michigan recaptured the lead and even built it to four points at 60-56 with 4:54 to play.
Ohio State never lost the momentum, however.
Over the final 4:54, the Buckeyes outscored Michigan 15-2, eventually running away with the game in impressive fashion.
It was the hardest the team has played in years, and subsequently it was as loud as the Schottenstein Center has been in years.
“We try to make every game as exciting as possible around here. It was a fun game, and an incredible environment,” OSU head coach Chris Holtmann said after the game. “I give Buckeye Nation and our Nut House a lot of credit for the energy they provided our team. That was as loud as I’ve heard it in here, and some of the coaches who have been here for a while were remarking that it was as loud as they’ve heard it in several years. I’m sure who we were playing had something to do with it, and I’m sure that us getting down 20 had something to do with it.”
Ohio State’s defensive intensity was the difference in the game, as Michigan shot just 5-29 (17.2%) from the field over the game’s final 20 minutes.
Up next for the Buckeyes is William & Mary on Saturday at 12:00 pm on BTN-Plus.
Once again, redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop led the way for the Buckeyes with 18 points and 9 rebounds. He shot 5-of-10 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. He had an incredible stretch of defense in the late second half as well. He was 2-of-3 from three-point territory and provided the Buckeyes some consistent offense when they were still trying to figure things out.
After the game, Holtmann said they would not have won this game without freshman forward Kyle Young’s defense, and he’s absolutely correct. Young displayed tremendous athleticism and awareness both defensively and offensively, but it was his grit and fight in the paint that made life very difficult for Michigan’s offense.
“It’s been a long time coming. In the past years I don’t think we understood what it takes to overcome a hole like that. Coach is always emphasizing every possession, and telling us to give maximum effort. I feel like we can achieve anything, we just have to keep winning every possession because the team that wins the most possessions, wins the game.” — Kam Williams on the team’s 20-point comeback.
The Box Score
• The game marked the 173rd meeting between Ohio State and Michigan.
• The Buckeyes lead the series 97-76 all-time including a 56-27 record in games played in Columbus.
• Ohio State has won three straight games and four of the last five meetings in the series.
• Ohio State completed their first 20+ point comeback victory since defeating Tennessee in the 2007 NCAA Tournament.
• The Buckeyes picked up their first win of the season when trailing at the half as well as their first win of the season when trailing with five minutes to play.
• The Buckeyes ended the game on a 14-2 run while holding Michigan to two points in the last 4:54 of play.
• The Buckeyes are 7-0 this season when scoring 70-plus points.
• Ohio State held Michigan to just 19 second-half points, the first time holding a Big Ten opponent to 20 or fewer points in a half since holding Penn State to 20 Jan. 26, 2016.
• Ohio State is 102-33 against Big Ten opponents in Value City Arena.
• Ohio State is now 71-33 in Big Ten home openers.
• The game marked the second time Chris Holtmann has squared off against the Wolverines.
• Holtmann holds a 1-1 record against Michigan for his career and 1-0 at the helm of the Buckeyes.
• Keita Bates-Diop racked up 18 points, nine rebounds, an assist, a block, and a steal on the day.
• Bates-Diop has led the Buckeyes in scoring in five of their 10 contests on the year.
• The Buckeyes are 4-1 in games in which Bates-Diop leads the team in scoring this season.
• Jae’Sean Tate scored 14 points to go along with four rebounds and an assist.
• His 14 points moved him to 35th in all-time scoring at Ohio State with (1,227). He passed John Havlicek (1,223) and is two points away from passing Larry Siegfried (1,228) for 34th on the list.
• C.J. Jackson scored 17 points while adding four assists and six rebounds while going 7-8 from the free throw line.
• Kyle Young scored a career-high six points in the contest on a perfect 3-3 while also grabbing a career-high four rebounds.
[Jae’Sean Tate photo courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com]