(Image courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, other information courtesy of teamrankings.com)
Through 34 minutes the game was tied in an expected back-and-forth contest. Then in the final six’ish minutes, this happened:
In the crucial stretch of the game, Ohio State had no turnovers, were 7-9 from the field and 6-6 from the free throw line. And, as you can see, UM was not nearly as efficient in their play.
The Buckeyes had their five starters all score in double figures. Duane Washington, Jr led the parade with 20 points. He was followed by CJ Walker with 15 points, Kaleb Wesson and Andre Wesson with 14 points each and Luther Muhammad with 10. Kaleb pulled in 9 rebounds. D.J. had (tied) game high 7 assists.
The Wolverines had two players in double figures. Franz Wagner had 18 points and Zavier Simpson had 12. Franz had a game high 10 rebounds for his double-double and Zavier had a (tied) game high 7 assists.
Ohio State shot 47% (27-57) from the field, 52% (11-21) from 3-point range and 92% (12-13) from the foul line.
Michigan shot 45% from the field (25-56), 27% (7-26) from 3-point range and 75% (6-8) from the foul line.
Several things worked out well Tuesday night:
- Let’s start with “raining 3s”. Ohio State was 11-21 from 3-pt range. Duane Washington, Jr (D-Wash) was 5-7 from range. Hell, he was 3-4 from the free throw line, so 3s were almost like FTs for him. Ohio State also unveiled a 6’9″, 270 lb outside threat in Kaleb Wesson. He was 4-5 from range.
- Ohio State’s team defense was par excellence. I was concerned about impact of UM’s Isiah Livers, but he turned out to be a non-factor. In fact, other than Simpson and Wagner, the UM team was a non-factor.
- Ball handling was a pleasant surprise. They had only nine turnovers and thirteen assists. Of course, shooting over 47% will get you a lot of assists.
Only a couple things:
- On-ball guard defense was shaky. Ohio State had no consistent answer to Zavier Simpson. He seemed to drive to the basket almost at will. Since Simpson can go left/right equally well, he’s a tough match-up to a defender, but the front line defenders have to be aware of this to help.
- Guarding Franz Wagner. Holy shit, is he ever a match-up nightmare. He’s listed as a Guard, but at 6’9″, he can play also play either Forward position.
- Kaleb got stymied with his interior offense, going 1-9, but his 3-pt shooting (above) more than compensated.
The Buckeyes host Illinois (20-9, 12-6) Thursday evening in the final home game of the season. Tip-off is set for 7:00 pm ET. You can watch the game on ESPN or listen to it on TuneIn. Or both.