Michigan Cools Off Ohio State, 75-64

Tony Stockman tallied a game-high 22 points, but Ohio State could not contend with Michigan's athletic lineup during Sunday's Big Ten basketball match-up at Crisler Arena. The loss dropped OSU below .500 at 13-14 on the season with two home games left. Click this free link for more.

Michigan needed a win over Ohio State Sunday to bolster its NCAA Tournament hopes, and that is precisely what the Wolverines got as they prevailed 75-64 at Crisler Arena.

It was a combination of factors that prevented Ohio State from extending its winning streak to three straight games. OSU hit just 43.6 percent of its shots (24 of 55) from the floor, compared to Michigan's 52 percent (26 of 50) showing. OSU also failed to capitalize at the foul line, hitting 61.1 percent (11 of 18) compared to UM's stellar 89.5 percent (17 of 19) mark.

"This team might have the most talent of any team in the league and they may be the most athletic," OSU coach Jim O'Brien told WBNS-AM afterwards. "They are hard to play. But I think our guys played hard. They did a lot of things pretty well. But the single biggest thing was we couldn't guard them. They hurt us in their transition game and they hurt us on the offensive glass.

"There were times when we needed to make a couple of stops and we couldn't come up with the stops we needed."

Lester Abram hit 4 of 5 three-pointers on his way to 20 points for Michigan, which improved to 16-9 overall and 7-7 in Big Ten play. Bernard Robinson Jr., making his last Crisler regular season appearance as a senior, added 13 points. Brent Petway had 12 points and Daniel Horton scored 10.

Tony Stockman led OSU (13-14, 5-9) with 22 points. He was 7 of 18 from the floor, including 4 of 13 on three-pointers.

"I think Tony got tired today, but it is hard for us to take him out," O'Brien said. "When he goes out, we struggle with scoring on the perimeter. He made a couple of big threes and he had a couple of other threes that didn't go for him. Perhaps fatigue was a part of that, but Tony played hard today."

Terence Dials added 13 points and Velimir Radinovic had 11 for OSU. Only three other OSU players got into the scoring column with J.J. Sullinger netting six points and Brandon Fuss-Cheatham and Ricardo Billings each scoring five.

Ohio State actually jumped out to a 9-2 lead with Radinovic scoring the team's first four points and Stockman drilling a three and hitting a baseline jumper.

But after hitting 4 of its first 5 shots from the floor, the Buckeyes went cold. They made just 3 of their next 13 shots over the next 10 minutes. That lull allowed UM to come back and eventually go on a 13-2 run and forge a 24-17 lead with 7:16 left in the half. Graham Brown capped that run with a rebound basket.

OSU then scored five straight, including a driving bank shot by Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, to cut the lead to 24-22 with 5:56 left in the half.

But Michigan answered with eight straight points -- including treys by Abram and Dion Harris -- to move back on top 32-22 with 4:32 left. Petway scored on an offensive rebound to put UM up 38-26 with 2:32 left.

The Buckeyes got the lead down to seven at 38-31 after Dials scored off a lob from Stockman. But Petway tipped in a UM miss with just two-tenths of a second left to give Michigan a 40-31 halftime lead.

Stockman hit a pair of three-pointers midway through the half as OSU trimmed the gap to 56-49 with 9:09 left. Michigan answered with six straight points, capped by two free throws by Abram, to go up 62-49 with 7:31 left.

J.J. Sullinger got OSU inside 10 points with a fade away jumper to cut the lead to 62-53 with 5:58 left. But Michigan put the game away down the stretch as Robinson's three-point play with 1:44 left gave UM a 74-58 lead with 1:44 left.

Also Notable

* Michigan defeated Ohio State for the third straight time. OSU had won seven straight games against Michigan -- including two straight in Ann Arbor -- between 1999-2002 before being swept by the Wolverines last year (61-50 in Columbus and 70-54 in Ann Arbor). This was the only meeting scheduled between the schools this year.

* The defeat was OSU's 12th double-digit loss this year.

* Ohio State is now 3-5 in games played on the rare date of Feb. 29. The Buckeyes lost the first four games played on the extra leap year day dating back to 1908. Ohio State had won its last three, last playing in 1992, a 78-65 win at Michigan State.

* Ohio State returns home to close the regular season by facing Penn State Wednesday (8 p.m., ESPN-Plus) and Illinois either Saturday or Sunday. CBS and the Big Ten were expected to announce start times and TV assignments for next weekend's games on Monday.

The Buckeyes probably need wins in both of those games to assure themselves of at least an NIT bid. Penn State routed OSU 64-47 Jan. 10 in State College, but the Nittany Lions have only won once since then. Illinois, which could be playing for a share of the Big Ten title and the top seed in the conference tournament, crushed OSU 85-63 Jan. 7 in Champaign.

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