What else can you say about this game? I was sitting in post game interviews talking with other reporters and we found ourselves running out of ways to ask a very simple question: what changed in the second half?
It was clear that the Buckeyes did not have what it takes to win in this conference for much of the first half. The only exception was a 7-0 run to open the game that forced Michigan head coach John Beilein to burn a timeout 2:03 into the contest. From there, the visitors steadied themselves and mounted a comeback.
But once again, OSU found a way to win. This time, it came after the home team came out looking sluggish in the second half. Aaron Craft turned the ball over on a pass to William Buford that rifled past his ears and out of bounds and you had to wonder if the capacity was there for a comeback this time.
Of course, it was. This team might find itself constantly being forced to rally in the second half, but the big credit is that it is never an insurmountable deficit. The Buckeyes are not finding ways to overcome 20-point deficits, which is probably a testament to their defense.
So what did we learn? Another dogfight, another second-half rally and another win. It is a three-game lead atop the Big Ten with eight left to play, and I do not see any way that the Buckeyes do not bring home an outright title this season.
There is still not a game on the schedule that I feel OSU will lose. I do not expect them to go undefeated, but I can not pick one game where they will lose.
I think … that William Buford might be establishing himself as the guy shooting the ball with the game on the line.
After a dodgy first-half performance and the inexcusable turnover early in the second half, I mostly expected to see the junior guard tuck his tail between his legs and be a nonfactor the rest of the way. Instead, he hit two huge three-pointers to tie the game and give his team an offensive spark it was sorely lacking.
At this point, you have to expect that he will always be a streaky shooter. Eleven of his 13 points came in the second half, but they came when his team needed him the most. When the game is on the line, he wants the ball and his teammates will get it to him.
If they are not going inside to Jared Sullinger, that is.
I think … that it is quite the feat for a big man to go a full 40 minutes in any given game, but doing it in a contest like this one borders on herculean.
Sullinger was being beaten like a second-rate piñata as this one went on, and yet he just kept coming back for more. I love the fact that he tells us to judge his effort by his rebounding total and tonight he had a game-high 15 of them. Oh yeah, and 19 points too. Both were game-high totals.
What a performance from the big man. Again.
I think … that I am excited to watch Darius Morris and Craft battle each other for a few more years. ‘Nuff said.