I am starting to run out of superlatives to describe Trey Burke.
Michigan's freshman point guard came through in the clutch once again, as the Michigan Wolverines (20-7, 10-4 in Big Ten) beat arch-rival Ohio State (22-5, 10-4 in Big Ten) 56-51 Saturday night. The Wolverines remain undefeated at home this season; they have won 16 straight in Ann Arbor dating back to 2010-11.
After trailing for the entire game, the Buckeyes pulled to within three points with under two minutes remaining. Michigan answered back immediately, as Trey Burke drove down the left side of the lane and banked in a beautiful right-handed layup to stretch the lead back to five with 1:14 left.
On Ohio State's next possession, PG Aaron Craft calmly knocked down two free throws, making the score 54-51 with 43 seconds remaining.
In an interesting decision, coach Thad Matta decided not to foul, which would have extended the game. Instead, he trusted his defense to get a stop.
Trey Burke once again had the answer. Burke saw an opening at the top of the key and took Craft to the rim. He put up a floater over former high school teammate Jared Sullinger and watched the ball bank perfectly off of the backboard. Crisler Center exploded, as this put the Wolverines up 56-51 with 11 seconds remaining, effectively ending the game.
Burke led the Wolverines with 17 points and five assists. Tim Hardaway Jr. had another solid performance, adding 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting, 2-for-2 from long range.
Perhaps the unsung hero for Michigan was Jordan Morgan. He finished the game with his first career double-double—11 points and 11 rebounds—however, his impact ran far beyond the stat sheet. Morgan played toe-to-toe with Ohio State's All-American and drew key offensive fouls.
Deshaun Thomas had a monster game for the Buckeyes, scoring 25 points and grabbing a career-high 13 rebounds (six offensive). However, Ohio State failed to find any sort of offensive balance, as Michigan's defense was suffocating. The Buckeyes struggled offensively throughout the game, shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 3-for-16 from three-point range.
Jared Sullinger finished the game with 14 points and eight rebounds, but he looked frustrated at times. As expected, the Wolverines double-teamed Sullinger down on the block each time he touched the ball.
Coach John Beilein showed up at the Crisler Center at 6:00am this morning with donuts for the students who showed up early to attend ESPN's "Gameday." After what must have been an exhausting day, he can go home with the biggest win for Michigan basketball in years in his back pocket.
The Wolverines had previously lost six straight games and 15 of their past 17 against Ohio State. This win vaults Michigan State into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten at 10-3, but the Wolverines and the Buckeyes are only a half game back, both sitting at 10-4.
Michigan fans, you can stop slapping yourselves now. Michigan basketball is back.