Wolverines Topple Buckeyes to Reach Big Ten Tourney Final
March 15, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
MICHIGAN SPORTS RELEASE
Site: Indianapolis, Ind. (Banker's Life Fieldhouse)
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team (No. 8 AP, No. 9 ESPN/USA Today) survived another second-half scare but held on for a 72-69 victory over Ohio State (No. 24 AP, No. 24 ESPN/USA Today) in the first semifinal game of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday afternoon (March 15) inside Banker's Life Fieldhouse. The Wolverines advanced to the tournament's championship game for the first time since 1998.
Sophomore Nik Stauskas (Mississauga, Ontario/St. Mark's School [Mass.]) led the way with 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Classmate Caris LeVert (Pickerington, Ohio/Central) was right behind with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds. Fellow sophomore Glenn Robinson III (St. John, Ind./Lake Central) was Michigan's final double-digit scorer with 11 points, and freshman Derrick Walton Jr. (Harper Woods, Mich./Chandler Park Academy) posted eight points, five rebounds and four assists.
Trailing 68-65 with four minutes left in the game, Michigan responded with a Stauskas jumper and two free throws by Robinson to retake the lead with 2:55 left, and Stauskas' reverse layup under the basket dropped in with 2:08 to play to give U-M a 71-68 advantage. Ohio State called timeout with 52.7 seconds left, and LaQuinton Ross was sent to the line after drawing Jordan Morgan's (Detroit, Mich./University of Detroit Jesuit) fifth foul, ejecting him from the game with 44.5 seconds to go. Ross made one from the line, and Michigan called timeout, up 71-69.
Stauskas missed a three with 13 seconds left, but LeVert grabbed the offensive rebound and passed to Spike Albrecht (Crown Point, Ind./Northfield Mount Hermon Prep [Mass.]), who was fouled with 6.2 ticks left and hit one of two free throws to bring the score to 72-69. Aaron Craft had one last chance at a three, but he lost the ball before he was able to shoot, sealing the three-point victory for Michigan.
The Wolverines came out gunning from the start, making six of their first seven shots and going up 15-2 less than four minutes into the game. Triples from Stauskas, Robinson and LeVert put Michigan up 9-2, and a layup by Robinson on the fast break made the margin nine points and forced OSU to call timeout at 16:56. Out of the break, Robinson knocked down a jumper, and Morgan threw down a dunk off a feed from Stauskas to put U-M ahead by 13.
The Buckeyes responded with five straight points to come within eight of Michigan, but Stauskas banked in a step-back three from the left wing to put the Maize and Blue back on top by 11. Ohio came within seven after a transition basket by Ross made the score 21-14 at 11:06, but Zak Irvin (Fishers, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern) nailed a three just eight seconds later to reclaim a double-digit lead.
After a Shannon Scott jumper brought the score to 24-16, the Wolverines scored eight unanswered points, with five coming from LeVert, including his fast-break dunk that made the lead 32-16 with 7:39 remaining in the first half.
Another Irvin triple put Michigan up 37-22 with 6:02 left, but the Buckeyes closed out the half on a 15-4 run. A Ross layup pulled Ohio within six points at 37-31, but the Wolverines made consecutive baskets to go back up by 10. Then OSU scored the final six points on another Ross layup, a Craft floater, and a basket by Amir Williams with four seconds left, making the score 41-37 in U-M's favor going into the break.
Michigan shot 16-of-25 (64 percent) from the floor in the first half, including an impressive 8-of-13 (62 percent) from three. The team hit seven of its first nine three-point attempts, while seven of their first 10 made field goals came from long distance. Ohio State went 14-of-27 (52 percent) on field goals and made four of its nine attempts from three (44 percent). Scott led all first-half scorers with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, while six Wolverines scored five or more points, led by LeVert with eight. U-M also assisted on 12 of its 16 first-half baskets, and six different players tallied a triple, with Stauskas and Irvin collecting two each.
Stauskas knocked down a three on the first shot after the intermission, and after a Ross basket, the Wolverines hit two more triples to take a 50-39 lead. LeVert made a jumper from the left elbow at 14:57 to give U-M a 56-44 advantage, but OSU scored two straight baskets to cut the deficit to eight points and force Michigan to call timeout with 13:10 left in the game. Then Scott hit a three from the top of the key to make the score 56-51. On Michigan's next possession, Stauskas drew a foul on Craft while shooting a three, forcing Craft to sit with four fouls and 11:44 left in the game. Stauskas hit two from the line put the Maize and Blue up seven.
OSU proceeded to score six straight points, including a tough shot in the paint by Ross that made the score 58-57 and forced Michigan to use a timeout with 9:38 remaining. Ohio State took its first lead of the game at 7:58 when an alley-oop dunk by Sam Thompson made the score 61-60.
The Wolverines reclaimed the lead at 5:49 when LeVert hit the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, making the score 65-64, but the Buckeyes scored two straight baskets to take a 68-65 lead with 4:12 left, their largest lead of the game.
U-M finished the game shooting 25-of-47 (53 percent), including 12-of-23 (52 percent) from downtown. OSU shot 27-of-56 (48 percent) and made seven of its 19 three-point attempts (37 percent). Ross led all scorers with 19 points, while Scott finished with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting, five rebounds and six assists. Craft also did a little of everything, posting nine points, a team-high seven rebounds, and six assists.
Ohio State won the rebounding battle, 31-26, and had 10 steals on 12 Michigan turnovers. The Wolverines shot 10-of-19 (53 percent) from the line, while OSU hit eight of its 12 attempts (67 percent) from the charity stripe. U-M was outscored in the paint, 32-18, and had seven fast-break points compared to the Buckeyes' 16.
Michigan will take on the winner of No. 12 Wisconsin and No. 22 Michigan State on Sunday (March 16) in the final game of the Big Ten Tournament inside Banker's Life Fieldhouse. Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be televised on CBS.