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March 15, 2014

INSTANT RECAP: Michigan 72, Ohio State 69

Michigan opened the scoring in a 72-69 win over Ohio State on a positive note - with a three-pointer from Nik Stauskas in transition, followed by another from Glenn Robinson III and a third from Caris LeVert. A steal and score from Robinson III had the Wolverines up 11-2 and off to the races.

It was 13-2 after a Robinson III jumper, 15-2 when Stauskas found Jordan Morgan for a rolling dunk. Michigan made six of its first seven shots, three of four triples, and had assists on four of the buckets.

Box Score

OSU, meanwhile, looked like a team playing its third game in three days. The Buckeyes were short on their shots and struggled to get good looks early, but they still mounted a 5-0 run to creep back within eight, 15-7 after two Michigan turnovers opened the door. U-M went cold, too, with misses from Horford and Stauskas on consecutive possessions.

Then it started raining triples. Stauskas put Michigan back up by 11 with a banked triple before Shannon Scott answered with a three of his own. Sophomore Spike Albrecht hit a three to make it 21-10 at 12:05, and freshman Zak Irvin made it 24-14 at 10:35 after two OSU finishes near the rim.

U-M was 6-of-8 from three-point range at the second TV timeout. OSU was a solid 6-for-13 from the floor but was having a hard time keeping up.

Scott, though, was OSU's spark plug. He kept the Buckeyes close with seven points, scoring all of them on jump shots.

Freshman Derrick Walton Jr., though, put the Wolverines up by double digits again, 27-16, with his first triple. Sophomore Caris LeVert then scored the next five on a free throw, a jumper and a breakaway dunk.

OSU stayed within shouting range with some uncharacteristically good shooting. It was still 34-22 at 6:00 thanks to triples from Mark Loving and Shannon Scott - Craft then matched an Irvin triple to keep it a 12-point spread.

Michigan, though, got sloppy with the ball to allow the Buckeyes back in it. Two more turnovers gave the Wolverines six by the 3:32 mark, and OSU whittled a 16-point deficit in half on two Amir Wiliams free throws at 3:32. It was down to six when LaQuinton Ross spun and finished, but Walton added with a spinning finish of his own to stop the bleeding. LeVert to Morgan inside made it 41-31 at 2:15 after an OSU miss.

The Buckeyes, though, pulled back within six on two more drives and finishes, the second from Craft, following a pair of misses on bad Stauskas shots, and pulled within four at halftime - 41-37 - with a Williams finish inside.

U-M shot 16-for-25 in the first half, 8-for-13 from three-point range, and got balanced scoring, led by LeVert's eight and Robinson III's seven. OSU made 14 of 27 shots.

Second Half

Stauskas opened the second half coming off a screen on the top for a three, but Ross answered right back with a drive and finish. Walton answered with his second triple, and the Wolverines were up eight, as hot as they were in the first half.

Another Stauskas three off the dribble made it 50-39, and U-M was in business. Caris LeVert's three-point play on a strong drive answered a Sam Thompson triple to keep Michigan up by 11 at 16:48.

The Wolverines had a chance to take full control, but Albrecht missed a lay-up and OSU ripped off the next four points to cut it to 56-48 at 13:10. Scott's triple with a friendly roll cut it to 56-51 at 12:20, and it was a ball game again.

Craft picked up his fourth foul grabbing Stauskas on a three-point attempt at 11:44, sending Craft to the bench. Stauskas made two free throws to push the lead back to 58-51 and gave the Wolverines a chance for some separation. U-M came back in 1-3-1 and forced a steal, but a turnover and yet another Scott jumper made it a five-point game again. It was only three after two Ross free throws, and OSU's ball after a LeVert turnover.

The Buckeyes had all the momentum at the 9:38 mark and cut it to one on a Ross finish inside. An alley-oop to Thompson against the 1-3-1 finally got the Buckeyes over the hump, 61-60 at 7:40.

Michigan countered with four straight points. Morgan hit a free throw, and then found LeVert for a triple at the top out of the post. Scott, though, did it again, answering with another triple against U-M's 2-3 zone to tie it back up at 6:10.

The Wolverines started to struggle from the line, missing three of four, including two by Morgan. A turnover led to a Thompson putback on the other end, and the Buckeyes were up three with only four minutes remaining, 68-65. Stauskas hit a long two-pointer to cut the deficit to one despite Michigan's 7-for-15 from the free throw line at that point.

Offensive rebounds also proved to be a weakness. OSU had eight at the 2:55 mark, including three that led to second chance points. Still, Robinson III gave Michigan a one-point lead with two free throws at 2:45, setting up a down to the wire finish.

Michigan had the ball and the lead at 2:23 following two missed free throws by Craft, and Stauskas made him pay, driving by him for a baseline reverse finish and a three-point Michigan edge.

Morgan fouled out on a outback at 44.5 seconds remaining, sending Ross to the line. He made one of two.

Stauskas missed from the top with 10.2 seconds remaining, but LeVert came up with a huge rebound and sent it back up top to Albrecht, who went to the line for two shots with 6.2 seconds remaining. He drained one, but Craft was stripped at the other end, allowing U-M to escape.

Stauskas finished with 18, LeVert 17 and Robinson III 11 for the Wolverines, who will play the winner of Michigan State and Wisconsin Sunday.


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