Ohio State head coach Thad Matta has routinely implored his team to play with energy this season. That's exactly what he got Saturday night against Michigan when his club won, 70-66, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The Buckeyes (14-10, 4-7 Big Ten) had 42 total rebounds compared to Michigan's 24. OSU grabbed 16 offensive boards alone while the Wolverines (14-9, 4-6) corralled just seven. The Buckeyes' effort on the offensive glass gave them a 19-4 advantage in second-chance points as well.
Marc Loving only made 4 of 12 shots from the field but went 6 of 6 from the foul line to lead Ohio State with 17 points. His two foul shots with 15 seconds left in the game gave OSU the deciding 70-66 lead. Trevor Thompson recorded his eighth double-double of the season, registering 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Scarlet and Gray.
Derrick Walton Jr. had a game-high 25 points for the Wolverines, which included hitting 6 of 9 three-pointers. He also grabbed 10 rebounds to notch his second double-double of the year.
OSU trailed by as many as 11 in the first half, thanks to Michigan starting the game 7 of 9 from the floor to build a 19-8 lead nearly six minutes into the contest. Walton, Zak Irvin and Duncan Robinson each hit a three for the Maize and Blue during that stretch.
But Ohio State outscored Michigan, 14-5, in the final 4:53 of the opening stanza to take a 36-35 advantage into the locker room.
The Buckeyes scored seven straight points during that stretch, which began with Loving knocking down a wide-open three after faking a pass. Then with the game tied at 34 with 37 seconds left until the intermission, Loving made two free throws to give OSU its first lead of the game.
Jae’Sean Tate picked up two fouls in 10 seconds and therefore sat out 14-plus minutes in the first half.
Ohio State did not trail in the final 20 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes led by as many as eight on two different occasions. After Thompson made a jumper, Tate hit a pair of foul shots on the Buckeyes’ next possession to give OSU a 47-39 cushion with 14:46 left. C.J. Jackson's jumper put the Buckeyes on top, 58-50, with 7:07 remaining.
Michigan eventually tied it up at 60 apiece when Walton hit a trey with 4:23 left. A jumper and free throw by Tate put OSU back on top, 63-60, but D.J. Wilson connected from long distance to knot things up again at 63 with 2:23 remaining.
Loving knocked down a jump shot and JaQuan Lyle hit a pair of foul shots to give the Buckeyes a 67-63 advantage with 32 seconds left. Walton hit another three to bring Michigan within one but the Wolverines did not score again. A free throw from Lyle and the two by Loving capped the scoring.
Ohio State returns home to host Rutgers (13-11, 2-9) on Wednesday evening.