2012 Ohio State Basketball
Buckeyes Baffled by Rival Michigan
Back in late January, the Ohio State Buckeyes pounded their arch-rivals, handing the Michigan Wolverines a 64-49 defeat.
As the two teams met on Saturday, it was clear the Wolverines and their fans in Ann Arbor were looking for revenge.
Vindication was achieved as the 19th ranked Wolverines edged out the 6th ranked Buckeyes 56-51 in front of a ruckus capacity crowd.
The Buckeyes were in a daze in the sea of maze.
Fueled by the crowd, who was amped early as a result of ESPN's "Gameday" crew on campus, the Wolverines matchup zone defense and pressure baffled the Buckeyes.
One of the better shooting teams in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes were held to just 38.8 percent shooting (19-49) including a putrid 3-of-16 from beyond-the-arc. Furthermore, the Buckeye offense produced just nine assists while committing 12 turnovers.
The only bright spot for the Buckeyes was Deshaun Thomas who finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds.
All-American Jared Sullinger was visibly frustrated for most of the night, and was held to 14 points and eight rebounds. No other Buckeye scored more than six points.
Sullinger struggled in his head-to-head matchup with Michigan sophomore Jordan Morgan.
Morgan out-dueled Sullinger on the way to his first career double-double, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"He's (Sullinger) a great player, and we knew it was going to be tough to stop him," Morgan said. "I just kept telling myself that we were playing for the championship tonight, and we needed this one."
Ohio State head coach Thad Matta, thought Morgan's biggest contribution was one that wouldn't show up on the stat sheet.
"I think he must have taken five charges, which has to be an NCAA record," Matta said. "I just kept telling our kids to try to avoid contact whenever possible, because everything was getting called."
Although Morgan's performance was huge for Michigan, the star of the night was true freshman, and Columbus, Ohio native, Trey Burke.
Burke finished with 17 points, including a game-clinching runner with 11 seconds left that sealed the victory.
Michigan head coach John Beilein talked about Burke's clutch shot.
"I was going to call timeout, but I saw Trey had some room, and I trusted him to know what to do with a three-point lead in the final 20 seconds," Beilein said. "He finished the game for us."
Burke's rainbow shot floated over the outstretched arm of Sullinger, hit high off the backboard and dropped through the net. Burke had confidence in how he was going to attack Sullinger due to the fact that the two were childhood friends and high school teammates.
"Jared likes to take a lot of charges, so I knew he would be looking for that instead of trying to block my shot," said Burke, who also had five assists. "I just wanted to pull up short and get it over him."
With the victory, the Wolverines improve to 15-0 at home and move into a tie with the Buckeyes for second place in the Big Ten, a half-game behind the Michigan State Spartans. The win also snaps a six-game losing streak against their nemesis.
Michigan (20-7, 10-4 Big Ten) will look to keep their momentum going as they travel to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Tuesday.
The Buckeyes (22-5, 10-4) will also play on Tuesday, hosting the Illinois Fighting Illini in Columbus.
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