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A-Maize-ing Game: Ohio State-Michigan Recap

The Wolverines beat Ohio State for a second time in a game was great, including its anticlimactic ending.

Andy Lyons

Ohio State weathered multiple storms in this game to keep it close, but the top-seeded Wolverines were too much in the end. Michigan shot an impressive 52.2% from beyond-the-arc, including 4-8 by Nik Stauskas, and led most of the game. OSU had to answer multiple runs by John Beilein's team, and did so by forcing turnovers and grabbing 9 offensive rebounds in the game. The last ten minutes of the game was a back-and-forth battle with neither team leading by more than 3, the ultimate margin.

Michigan jumped out to and early 15 to 3 lead before OSU started to settle, but even though the Buckeyes offense got started they still had no answer for the 3-point shooting of the Wolverines. Shannon Scott kept his team within reach by scoring 10 points early on in the half. That allowed LaQuinton Ross and Aaron Craft to key a 15-4 run and close the gap to 4 at the end of the first half.

The second half started much like the first one, with Michigan hitting three triples in the first two minutes before Thad Matta's team got their head back in the game and closed up again.Craft picked up his fourth foul with 11:44 to go,despite missing their floor leader the Buckeyes went on a mini run and cut the lead to 1. Then a steal on a Michigan inbound play set up an OSU alley-oop to give them their first lead of the game with 7:58 left. The rivals continued to trade punches until the last minute. Up two with the ball, Stauskas missed a three, but Caris LeVert nabbed the rebound and passed it back out forcing Ohio State to foul Spike Albrecht. The Buckeyes got a huge break when the usually reliable guard hit the first but missed the second leading to a fast break by Aaron Craft who had to hit a three to tie. The senior looked like he may have been unsure about taking the shot as he pulled up and fumbled the way and the game away to Michigan.

Michigan will play in the BTT championship game for the first time since they won the inaugural tournament in 1998 (since vacated). The Wolverines are also looking good for a 1 seed in the NCAA tourney if they can win tomorrow. Ohio State finishes a good run in this tournament and their two wins plus a good game against a top team could have them looking at a 4 or 5 seed next week.