Michigan had a chance to make a statement in Columbus in its quest for a key road win and the nation's No. 1 ranking, but the moment proved to big for all of them in the first half - with one exception. Freshman Spike Albrecht helped the Wolverines battle back from 29-8 deficit with seven first half points, cutting the Ohio State lead to 12 at the break (34-22) in an eventual 56-53 loss to the Buckeyes.
Until then, Michigan was uncharacteristically un-poised. Sophomore point guard Trey Burke opened the scoring with a triple before OSU responded with the next 16 straight to seize control. Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft stuck it to Burke on both ends, getting help from his hedgers on defense and taking advantage of every opening on offense. He scored a quick seven points, standout DeShaun Thomas 11 in opening up the Buckeye lead.
U-M's problems started with defending the dribble and continued on the offense end, where the Wolverines turned it over nine times (to just four assists) in the first half. They reverted to too much one-on-one on offense, Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. included, hoisted some bad shots - and yet were only down 12 at the break thanks to Albrecht and a late run.
The Wolverines shot only seven of 19 in the first half to OSU's 51.9 percent, and managed only two points in transition to Ohio State's 7. Albrecht led U-M with 7, Burke had five and Robionsin III and Hardway (1-for-6 shooting) had three each).
Resdhirt junior Jordan Morgan opened the scoring with a drive and lefty finish to cut the lead to 10, quieting an already nervous crowd. U-M had a chance to continue to cut into the lead, but bad three-point attmpes from Stasukas and Hardaway and a three-point play at the other end kept the Buckeyes in control.
Michigan continued to chip away in the first 10 minutes of the half despite blowing a number of chances in transition. Burke wasn't himself, failing to finish one two of his own and throwing a poor alley-oop toward Hardaway Jr. that was intercepted.
He started to heat up. He made three free throws after being fouled on a triple to make it 37-27, but a Thomas triple still had OSU in front by 11 with 11:00 to go.
And then Michigan got hot. Burke found Hardaway Jr. for an oop that worked and finished one of his own. The Wolverines didn't get a call when Hardaway drove to the hole, but Robinson III tripled with just less than six minutes remaining to finally tie it.
OSU, though, scored six straight to regain control while the Wolverines settled for jacking triple after triple. Hardaway missed a pair, Robinson missed and Stauskas was well short from 25 feet.
The Wolverines still had one more run in them. Burke hit two free throws, and Robinson followed with a steal and dunk to make it 52-50 with 1:06 remaining. Robinson rebounded a Thomas miss to give U-M the ball back with 40 seconds left. Burke's long three was halfway down with :15 to go before rimming out.
Burke missed another triple, OSU made its free throws and Burke banked in one that didn't much matter at :01 for the final margin.
Burke went 4-for-13 and scored 15 for U-M, Hardaway was 5-for-15 (1-for-6 from three) for 12 and Robinson III scored eight for the 16-1 Wolverines.