The final score doesn’t always tell the full story.
Michigan (5-17, 1-9) led most of the game and appeared to be in control after a Jevohn Shepherd 3-pointer put the Wolverines ahead 50-45 with 10:41 left in the game.
Ohio State (16-7, 7-3) went on a 20-5 run to end the game. The run was fueled by an Othello Hunter dunk at the 8:11 mark. The dunk closed the deficit to 52-50 and brought the crowd to its feet. John Diebler made a difficult jumper and converted two free throws to put Ohio State in the lead for good 54-52 at the 6:33 mark.
Michigan’s Udoh made a 3-pointer at the 4:29 mark to quiet the crowd. Michigan trailed 56-55 after the 3-pointer and appeared to be in position for the upset. Manny Harris, Michigan’s freshman guard, missed a 3-pointer from the wing and missed a jumper inside the arc that would have given Michigan back the lead.
Harris came into the game averaging over 16 points a game. He scored seven in 35 minutes of play.
Jamar Butler was 4-12 from the field and struggled to find the basket after starting the game with a 3-pointer. His struggles didn’t stop him from taking the big shots at the end of the game. He weaved around a screen and hit a three to push the lead to 59-55 with a little over three minutes left in the game. With 1:24 left in the game, Butler drove the lane for a layup to extend the lead to 61-55.
Butler played the entire game and had 10 points and nine assists.
Ohio State had five players in double figures. The last time Ohio State had five players in double figures was a 92-83 win over UMBC on December 29th.
Ohio State was a double digit favorite going into the game. An easy win at home turned into a dogfight to the end, but Ohio State fans were not pleased with the close contest. After returning from the game and watching the replay, I came away with a lot of positives from the game.
Jon Diebler played his best game as a Buckeye. Diebler had 14 points on 3-6 shooting and was 2-3 from long range. He also drove to the basket with confidence and converted 6-6 from charity stripe. Diebler finally looked comfortable on the floor and played like the Ohio High School leading scorer Thad Matta recruited.
David Lighty had a quiet 12 points on 5-6 shooting. He was in control the entire game. His biggest contribution was on the wing of the zone in the second half. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time poking the ball away. He finished off the game with a steal and a tomahawk dunk with 24 seconds left.
Othello Hunter dominated the game in the paint the entire game. He had several dunks that brought the crowd to its feet. He played hard the entire game and made his presence felt on every possession. Hunter had 15 points, 12 boards, and ran the floor the entire night. He never took a play off.
Jamar Butler was emotionally upset after the Iowa loss. Before the game he had a few words with Erin Andrews. Butler said, “I want to win, I don’t have many games left. I need these guys to help me out.”
Ohio State has won 47 consecutive games at home against unranked opponents.
Thad Matta is now 7-0 against Michigan.
Ohio State hosts Indiana on Sunday at 1pm ET (CBS).