Buckeyes Roundball Roundup: beat Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Hey, at least if the Buckeyes were only going to win one game, they picked the correct game to win. The Ohio State Buckeye’s men’s basketball team continues to grasp for positives during a frustrating season. Ohio State lost to Maryland in Columbus, 77-71. The good news is that the Buckeyes traveled to the state up North and upset Michigan, 70-66. Beating the Wolverines will always put a smile on the face of their fans.

Ohio State comes up short against Maryland, 77-71

Somehow, the Buckeyes went into Tuesday night’s matchup as the favorites over the Terrapins. The same Maryland team who was ranked and only had two losses the entire season. They hadn’t lost since January 1. Maryland was able to pull out a six-point victory, to keep their hot streak going.

Thad Matta’s boys were able to keep it close as a moral victory. Ohio State played well on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 48 percent from the field, 41 percent from long distance, and 70 percent from the free-throw stripe. They also had 17 assists and only 10 turnovers.

The Buckeyes even held a one-point lead late in the first half. The Terps erased the deficity when they ended the half on a 7-0 run over the final 96 seconds to take a 42-36 lead into intermission. In the second half, Ohio State cut the lead to one-point four different times but never took the lead. A Marc Loving jumper cut the lead to two with under two minutes remaining, but the Buckeyes were held scoreless for the final 1:46.

Matta admitted that his team made progress, but still needs to improve to compete against teams like Maryland.

“I thought we played hard tonight. Maryland is a heck of a basketball team. They did a tremendous job of finding open guys and they really shoot the ball well. I thought we executed better offensively tonight. We had a better flow and pace to us. Give them credit, as I told our guys we played better, but we didn’t play well enough. We have to continue to climb the stairs of success.”

Jae’Sean Tate (20 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block) led three Buckeyes in double figures, with Marc Loving (18 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal) and Kam Williams (10 points, two rebounds, one assist, one steal) also had double-digits. Trevor Thompson (nine points, nine rebounds, two steals) played well off the bench.

Ohio State’s defense struggled, allowing Maryland to shoot 49 percent from the field. Every Terp that played scored. The Buckeyes were also beat on the boards, 33-29.

Buckeyes upset their biggest rival, beat Michigan, 70-66

The basketball version of The Rivalry doesn’t compare to the football side, but Ohio State and Michigan always want to beat each other. With the Wolverines as double-digit favorites heading into Saturday night, the Buckeyes were expected to go as quietly as the football Wolverines in the Brady Hoke era.

Early on, it seemed the odds were correct. The scarlet and gray trailed by as many as 11 points. But, Michigan couldn’t shoot for much of the night. They were just 13-of-35 from long distance and had just 16 shots inside the arc. Ohio State’s defense forced the Wolverines to take bad shots, and the Buckeyes were able to claw back to take a 36-35 halftime lead that held up through multiple Michigan runs in the second half.

Three Buckeyes scored in double figures, while all eight who received playing time scored at least three points: Loving (17 points, five rebounds, one assist, one steal), Tate (13 points, five rebounds, three assist, one block), and Thompson (13 points, 11 rebounds, one block).

The Buckeyes also struggled from beyond the arc, making just 4-of-19, but changed things up by having an impressive night from the free-throw line (wait, what?). They made 24-of-28, which helped seal the win. The Bucks also dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Wolverines, 42-24. With just eight assists and 16 turnovers, Ohio State needed everything they could to pull off the upset.

For just the second time, the Buckeyes were able to squeak out a conference win on the road. While it’s not a season-changing win, a win over Michigan, especially in Ann Arbor, is a confidence boost for the team and a much-needed breath of fresh air for the fanbase.

Coming up this week:

Wednesday vs. Rutgers (13-9, 2-11), 7 p.m. ET

Saturday at No. 17 Maryland (20-3, 8-2), 4 p.m. ET