For 36 minutes the matchup between No.3 Michigan and No. 4 Ohio State was about as close as it gets.
With four minutes remaining on the game clock the Wolverines led by one point in a game that had seen 19 lead changes to that point.
Both teams were making shots and playing high level basketball.
Just two minutes later, the game looked a lot different.
An extremely costly turnover by Justice Sueing while the Buckeyes were down three points led to a fast break layup and free throw by Michigan and just like that the Buckeyes were down by six. The play came with 3:38 on the clock and made the score 80-74 Michigan. The turnover itself appeared to be nearly unforced as Sueing attempted a behind the back pass near the top of the key that appeared to be intended for no one in particular. Michigan’s Isaiah Livers picked up the loose ball and went the length of the court for the layup and was fouled by Sueing on the shot.
The Buckeyes never really recovered. They got to within four when E.J. Liddell made two free throws to make it 80-76 but Michigan was able to extend the lead to as many as nine, their biggest of the game, as the game clock went under a minute to play.
Aside from the late miscue by the Buckeeys the game was as close as it gets. Both teams shot 53% from the field, Ohio State made 32 field goals, Michigan 31. Both teams made 11 three point field goals, OSU on 50% shooting from three and Michigan on 48%. Michigan had 36 points in the paint, OSU 34. The Wolverines had a slight rebounding edge at 30-26, but OSU had the edge in second chance points 10-8.
The difference was in points off turnovers. Michigan scored 14, OSU 11, and in a game that was a three-point game with three seconds left on the game clock, that was the deciding factor in a game that could have gone either way. In game this close the margin for error is small, and the Buckeyes were the ones that made the big error at the critical moment.
Despite the loss there was a lot to be happy with in the way OSU played. Guard Duane Washington scored a career-high 30 points on 12 of 18 shooting from the field and five of five from three. E.J. Liddell added 23 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. Guard C.J. Walker came off the bench to score 15 points in 32 minutes of play. Walker was 6 of 9 from the field.