COLUMBUS — Four players scored at least 14 points for Ohio State as the No. 23 Buckeyes (20-9, 10-8) were led by sophomore guard Duane Washington’s game-high 20 points in a 77-63 win over No. 19 Michigan (18-11, 9-9) Sunday afternoon at Value City Arena on the OSU campus.
Point guard CJ Walker added 15, while Kaleb and Andre Wesson added 14 a piece. Luther Muhammad pitched in 10, giving the Buckeyes five starters all in double-figures. Walker also dished out seven assists, grabbed six rebounds, and turned it over just one time.
Kaleb Wesson was 1-of-9 from the field in the first half, but responded in the second half by hitting four of his five field goal attempts. Eleven of his 14 points came in the second half.
Washington went 5-of-7 from three-point range and also grabbed six rebounds.
The game started back and forth, and up and down the court. The first two baskets were opposing dunks by Michigan’s Jon Teske and OSU’s Andre Wesson.
The Wolverines grabbed a 7-3 lead with 16 minutes to play, but the Buckeyes went on an 8-2 run featuring a layup by Luther Muhammad, and threes from Duane Washington and Andre Wesson. The latter three forced a UM timeout with the Buckeyes leading 11-9 at the 13:51 mark.
An elbow jumper from EJ Liddell made it 15-11, but Franz Wagner quickly answered with a three. Two minutes later, Zavier Simpson swiped the ball from CJ Walker and took it home for a layup to give Michigan a 16-15 lead. Austin Davis made it 18-15 with a layup, but the Buckeyes produced the next four baskets via a jumper from Andre Wesson, a layup from Muhammad and two more threes from Washington. The second three gave the Buckeyes a 25-18 lead with under seven minutes to play.
After a pair of free throws from Teske to stop the bleeding, Kaleb Wesson dropped in a three to push OSU’s lead back to eight points with 5:22 remaining.
Following a pair of free throws for Michigan’s Colin Castleton, Zavier Simpson grabbed a rebound from a CJ Walker miss and went coast-to-coast for the layup, making it 30-26 at the 3:36 mark. The Buckeyes went up six with a Washington curling jumper, but the Wolverines answered right back with a three from Isaiah Livers to make it 32-29, which is where the score stood at the half.
CJ Walker got the scoring started in the second half with a jumper, but Michigan answered with a 9-0 run featuring a pair of layups from Simpson. Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann finally called a timeout with Michigan leading 38-34 with 17:32 to play.
Ohio State came out of the timeout with an 8-0 run, just as Holtmann drew up. Kaleb Wesson notched his second field goal of the game with a three to make it 42-38 OSU with 15:26 remaining.
A layup from Simpson made it 46-44 Ohio State, but Washington responded with a pair of threes in a 90-second span, giving the Buckeyes a 52-46 lead which forced a Michigan timeout at the 9:49 mark. The Wolverines then answered right back with consecutive threes from Franz Wagner to tie the game.
Leading 54-52, the Buckeyes got a banked-in three from Andre Wesson as the shot clock wound down. The next time down the court, Walker threw a behind-the-back pass to Kaleb Wesson at the top of the key for another three, making it 62-54 with 5:07 remaining.
An Austin Davis dunk made it a 6-point game at 64-58. From that point on, the Buckeyes went on an 11-2 run featuring another banked-in three, but this time by Kaleb Wesson.
Michigan had nothing left for the Buckeyes as Ohio State closed the game on a 13-5 run, making all six of their free throw attempts down the stretch.
Walker scored all 15 of his points in the second half.
Ohio State was outscored 34-18 in the paint. The Buckeyes connected on just 6-of-14 layups, but made 11-of-21 from three.
The Buckeyes played just seven players as Kyle Young and Alonzo Gaffney were unavailable, and DJ Carton remains on leave.
[Photo courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com.]