Just when it seemed like it couldn't get any worse for the Michigan basketball Wolverines, it did. The Maize and Blue has struggled to score points as of late, but Saturday afternoon's performance was their most displeasing display of offensive futility this season.
The primary culprit for their scoring woes was their turnovers. The Wolverines committed a whopping 17 give-aways in the first half and 29 for the game. Their carelessness with the ball allowed the Buckeyes to get out to an early 8-0, keyed by three pointers from J.J. Sullinger and Tony Stockman. That lead grew even more, as eight turnovers in the first seven minutes by Tommy Amaker's club allowed the home team to obtain a 17-2 advantage by the 12:46 mark.
Dion Harris finally scored both his and Michigan's fourth point 20 seconds later to end the run. He then triggered the Maize and Blue's only sustained run of the contest with a jumper that ignited an 8-0 spurt. That cut the lead to 10 (22-12) with 7:12 left in the half, but they were unable to sustain that offensive efficiency. On the other end, however, Terrence Dials and Tony Stockman caught fire to effectively put the visitors away by halftime.
In the waning moments of the period, Dials scored eight points and Stockman 7, on an 18-7 run that gave the Buckeyes a 40-19 lead heading into the locker room. Dials outscored Courtney Sims 12-4 in the first half.
Michigan's sophomore post man would even the tables a bit on the scoring ledger in the second half, but those points were too little-too late, as the Wolverines were blown out by 26 points, 72-46. The margin of defeat was the largest for Ohio State over Michigan in 37 years.
After the contest, Amaker shouldered the blame for the way his team played. "Well, it's hard to play the game that way," Amaker said of having 4 assists to 29 turnovers. "You're extremely frustrated when that's what is occurring for you out there on the floor. Obviously, I'm responsible. So we're not sitting here making excuses. I'm in charge; I'm responsible, so when that happens, it's my fault. I have to find ways for us to become a better team and see how we can pull ourselves up and become better for our next game."
The road ahead doesn't get any easier for Michigan, as they are set to face the #1 Illinois Fighting Illini, Tuesday evening at Crisler Arena.