And, after putting on an incredible three-point shooting display, the 19th-ranked Buckeyes had turned back No. 22 Michigan 94-85 Thursday night at Crisler Arena.
Ohio State (17-3, 6-3) hit 15 of 24 three-point shots (62.5 percent) on its way to just its second road win against a ranked opponent in five seasons. Even better, the Buckeyes roasted the nets to the tune of 70.4 percent (19 of 27) in the second half as they put the game away.
"We have reached some milestones in the time we've been with this program," said OSU coach Thad Matta. "But we haven't beaten a top 25 team on the road. That was something we felt like we could do. The Wisconsin win at home was something good for us, but this was something we were striving for.
"We didn't know when we were going to get it, but we knew we were capable of it."
The win allowed Ohio State to move within a half-game of the Big Ten lead. Iowa holds the lead at 7-3, while OSU is now tied with Illinois and Michigan State for second.
The Buckeyes placed five players in double figures, led by Jamar Butler with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.
"Jamar was very big," Matta said. "He had great command about himself tonight. He controlled the basketball and controlled the tempo late in the game. He knew when to put the brakes on and knew when to push it in transition.
"I love Jamar. He's a tough kid and he showed that tonight."
Butler was also instrumental in containing UM leading scorer Daniel Horton, who finished with 15 points.
"I just wanted to come out and play good defense and do a good job against him," Butler said. "I think I did pretty good."
Je'Kel Foster continued his torrid shooting. After hitting 7 of 8 three-pointers in Saturday's win over Minnesota, Foster hit on 5 of 6 three-pointers and finished with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds.
"I've been getting some extra shots up," said Foster, who at one point had made 11 straight three-point shots over the two games. "It's been paying off. I credit my coaches for that."
Ron Lewis added 14 points for OSU.
"It's a real good road win against a top team in the conference," said Lewis, who was 5 of 7 from the floor.
J.J. Sullinger chipped in 13 points for OSU, while Ivan Harris came off the bench and delivered 11 points. He connected on 3 of 5 three-pointers and helped OSU rally from an early 13-point deficit.
"Ivan probably deserves the game ball tonight with the lift he gave us," Matta said. "Plus, he played pretty good defense."
Harris was happy to deliver when called upon.
"The Microwave, yeah, that's what they call me now, I guess," Harris joked. "It felt good. I just went in and took my time. I'm a shooter. I just set my feet and let it fly. It felt like I had the hot hand. I was just trying to put some points on the board."
It was an off night for OSU center Terence Dials, who had just one point in the first half. But he helped OSU grab control of the game with eight late points to finish with nine.
UM center Courtney Sims led the Wolverines (16-5, 6-4) with 26 points and 16 rebounds. He hit on 13 of 16 shots from the floor. But Dials returned from foul trouble late to contain Sims, who only took one shot in the game's final 10 minutes.
Ron Coleman joined Horton with 15 points. Dion Harris added 14 and Chris Hunter scored 13.
Michigan led 73-72 with 8:29 left when Harris left the game for good with an ankle injury. That's when the Buckeyes turned up the heat. UM could not withstand the pressure and OSU went on a 14-2 run to take the lead for good.
"We just tried to pressure them even more," Lewis said. "We knew those were their best players, Dion Harris and Daniel Horton."
OSU was nursing a 76-75 lead when the Buckeyes embarked on the game's decisive 8-0 run.
It started as Butler made a driving 14-foot bank shot to beat the shot clock. Then, after a Michigan turnover, Sullinger found Dials for a layup. Sylvester then stole the ball away and drove in for a breakaway jam. Finally, Horton was tied up by Foster on a drive and OSU got possession. They cashed it in as Foster dropped it off for Dials and an 84-75 lead with 5:14 left.
The Wolverines got as close as five after that, but could come no closer.
The Buckeyes fell behind by as many 13 in the first half, but OSU rode its amazing three-point barrage to a 49-43 halftime lead. OSU hit an amazing 12 of 16 three-point tries (75 percent) in the first 20 minutes.
UM's Harris came out hot, hitting three treys in the first 4-1/2 minutes as the Wolverines jumped out to a 13-4 advantage. Michigan then reeled off six straight points with a rebound basket by Coleman, an 18-foot jumper by Sims and a Coleman jumper in the lane to take a 21-8 lead with 13:11 left in the first half.
Matta called a timeout and shortly thereafter inserted Harris and Matt Terwilliger. This is where the fun began as OSU hit 11 of its last 12 three-point tries of the half to grab the lead. In succession, OSU got made treys from Harris, Sullinger, Butler, Harris and Harris again as they whittled the lead down to 29-27 with 7:32 left.
"Ivan Harris came in and sparked us," Lewis said. "That got us going."
Sylvester's reverse layup tied the game at 29-29 with 7:09 left. Shepherd then had a spinning jumper on the baseline to put UM up 31-29.
But Sylvester missed a drive, Sullinger rebounded and flipped it out to Foster in the right corner. His three gave OSU its first lead at 32-31 with 5:42 left in the half. UM surged back ahead 37-32 as Hunter scored inside, Sims had a layup and Hunter made two free throws with 4:09 left in the half.
Ohio State then closed the half on a 17-6 run. OSU canned five more threes in this stretch as, in succession, Foster, Foster, Sullinger, Lewis and Butler made treys. UM's Horton made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 47-43 with 34 seconds left.
OSU held for a last shot and Butler, creating a mismatch with UM's 6-11 Graham Brown, drove to the basket and was fouled. His two free throws with 4.5 seconds left put OSU up 49-43. UM's Harris missed a long three-point try at the buzzer.
Sullinger and Foster each canned threes early in the second half as OSU moved on top 55-47 with 18:09 left. Michigan rallied to tie the game at 61-61 on a Coleman three with 13:46 left. The teams traded the lead seven times until Dion Harris' game-turning injury came at the 8:29 mark.
After Michigan cut OSU's lead to 84-79 on Coleman's turnaround jumper with 4:09 left, Ohio State answered the challenge. Dials converted a pass from Foster into a layup. Butler then hit a driving bank shot with 1:40 left. Dials had a jam breaking the UM press in the final minute and Lewis and Butler each made a pair of free throws for the victorious Buckeyes.
* Last week Michigan cracked the national top 25 for the first time in eight years. This was the Wolverines' first home game as a ranked team since March 1998.
* This was the first time the teams met as ranked opponents since then-No. 15 Michigan upended then-No. 3 Ohio State 75-71 in overtime in the NCAA Midwest Region final in 1992 at Lexington, Ky.
* OSU is now 8-3 in its last 11 games against Michigan, although UM had won three of the last four meetings in that stretch of games.
* OSU is now 14-21 all-time at Crisler Arena, which opened for the 1967-68 season.
* The Buckeyes are now 2-2 against ranked teams this season and 4-6 against ranked teams in two years under Matta. In his six-year head coaching career, Matta's teams are 13-15 against ranked competition. That includes a 3-8 record against ranked teams on the road.
* Matta's teams are now a combined 35-10 playing as a ranked team, including 10-3 this season.
* OSU has lost its last four road games against ranked opponents and was 1-12 in its last 13 road games against ranked opponents since a Feb. 7, 2001, win at Iowa. The only win in that 13-game stretch was a 65-59 victory at then-No. 21 Purdue on Jan. 31, 2004.
* Matta's record as a head coach in February is 31-7.
* OSU hosts Illinois at 1 p.m. (CBS) Sunday at Value City Arena.