Michigan started slowly on the road - again - in a 70-60 win at Ohio State, down 11-5 at the first TV timeout after struggling in transition defense. The Wolverines made only two of their first 11 shots before freshman Zak Irvin tripled. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, made eight of their first 10, many uncontested in transition, in jumping out early on the Wolverines.
Michigan missed outside, on put-backs and everywhere in between, and they also turned it over twice unforced. Still, it was only 17-10 at 10:37 when sophomore Caris LeVert drove and finished through traffic.
The Buckeyes didn't cool down, though. They made nine of their first 13, while the Wolverines struggled to a 4-for-15 start. Sophomore Glenn Robinson III went one for his first five and freshman point guard Derrick Walton III was 0-for-3.
The Wolverines battled back within five, making it 19-14 on two Stauskas free throws and a Jordan Morgan tip-in. U-M stayed in it with five offensive rebounds in the first 12 minutes while keeping the Buckeyes off the offensive glass. Morgan notched four caroms in the early going.
OSU, meanwhile, gave Stauskas baseline but not much else in limiting his touches. The sophomore scored five points in the first 12 minutes, but his only triple was a contested fadeaway. U-M was 5-for-18 at 7:48 but still down only 21-16, with 16 of the Buckeyes' 21 points coming in the paint.
The looks were too good and led to one of OSU's best offensive showings in weeks. The Bucks ripped off the next five points and when Robinson was rejected on an attempted putback, the Buckeyes turned it into a Lenzelle Smith triple on the other end that gave OSU a 10-point lead.
At that point, the Buckeyes had nine transition points to Michigan's two.
Stauskas stopped the bleeding with at triple at 3:00 that cut the deficit to seven. Big man Jon Horford narrowed it to five on a pick and roll finish from Derrick Walton, Jr., and sophomore Caris LeVert cut it two 28-26 with a transition triple from the corner at :30.
Irvin, though, struggled down the stretch with an unforced turnover and then fouled the three-point shooter at 1.4 to allow OSU to take a 30-26 lead into the break when LaQuinton Ross made two free throws.
Stauskas led Michigan scorers with eight points, making two of four triples. Irvin scored five and LeVert also added five for U-M, which made only nine of 28 field goals in the first half to OSU's 12 of 25.
Stauskas hit a triple off a screen over point guard Aaron Craft to cut the lead to one point right off the bat, giving U-M early momentum, but a turning point came at 18:15. Robinson was rejected again on the Michigan end, leading to another Smith triple on the other end that pushed the lead back to six and assured the Wolverines would be playing from behind. It got worse on the next possession when U-M failed to get a shot off before the 35-second clock expired.
OSU's LaQuinton Ross pushed the lead to 37-29 with a short jumper before Robinson finally hit a bucket on a drive and floater in the paint at 16:45.
Walton Jr. came up with two big plays to keep the Wolverines close. His drive and lefty finish cut it to five; he then took a charge on the other end to give Michigan the ball back at the first TV timeout. Robinson III had a chance to cut it to one, but missed a wide-open putback that made him two for nine. Smith countered with yet another triple to push the lead back to six.
The two teams matched buckets before Irvin nailed a huge triple at 11:45 to cut the lead back to three. It was down to one after a LeVert steal and finish.
Stauskas gave the Wolverines a one-point lead, 44-43, with two free throws after being fouled in transition, but Horford missed two free throws on the next possession to keep it a one-point game. Stauskas, though, scored on another strong take at 10:00, and Walton then completed a three-point play on a spectacular drive to make it 49-43 at 9:14, with the Wolverines holding all the momentum.
The two teams traded baskets for the next two minutes. Michigan went zone at 7:15, up four, and promptly gave Ross a lane. He was fouled, but missed both free throws. He made up for it with a three-point play at 6:21 that cut the U-M lead to one, 51-50.
Morgan put Michigan back up three with a lefty putback on a Walton miss. Walton's triple at 4:40, though, gave U-M a six-point lead again - at that point, he had added nine rebounds and six assists. A costly Stauskas turnover led to two more transition points for the Buckeyes and a four-point Michigan lead with 3:24 remaining.
Robinson came up with a huge triple at 2:40 to push the lead to seven. Craft's airball gave the ball back at 2:30 with U-M firmly in command, and Walton pushed the lead to 10 with three free throws. He picked up the double double at 1:40 with his 10th rebound and U-M up 62-52. U-M closed it out from the free throw line.
Walton finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, now 10-2 in the Big Ten. Stauskas had 15, Irvin 10, LeVert nine and Horford eight.