ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Aaron Craft rushed the ball into the frontcourt, trying to tie the game and force another overtime.
Trey Burke defended him almost all the way to the hoop — then Tim Hardaway Jr. smothered Craft’s last-ditch attempt at a layup.
“There was a bit of contact, but they didn’t call it, so I guess it wasn’t a foul,” Craft said.
Ohio State scored at will for most of the second half against No. 3 Michigan on Tuesday night, but in overtime the Buckeyes managed only two points in a 76-74 loss. Craft’s final two shots were blocked by Burke and Hardaway.
Burke missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation that would have won it for Michigan — the Wolverines’ only miss in nine second-half attempts from beyond the arc. Burke’s 3 at the start of overtime made it 75-72, and then neither team scored until Craft’s driving layup with just under a minute to play.
Craft stole the ball from Burke, but the Michigan point guard hustled back to prevent an easy basket. The ball went out of bounds to Ohio State.
With the shot clock off, Craft drove past Burke, but Burke recovered to block Craft’s shot from behind at the free throw line. Glenn Robinson III was fouled and made one of two free throws for Michigan (21-2, 8-2 Big Ten) with 7.6 seconds left.
Craft had enough time to get all the way to the basket for another shot, but he couldn’t convert. Coach Thad Matta reviewed the play but had little to say.
“I just watched it, and it is what it is,” Matta said.
“I thought Trey fouled him, and then I thought the whistle was going to blow, and then I just went for the ball,” he said.
Hardaway brought Michigan back with a relentless streak of 3-point shooting. He finished with 23 points, including five straight 3-pointers in the second half.
Deshaun Thomas scored 17 points for the Buckeyes (17-5, 7-3).
Michigan and Ohio State were meeting for the first time with both teams ranked in the top 10.
With a sold-out, early arriving crowd cheering them on, the Wolverines went on an early 12-0 run, and they led 18-8 after Burke scored off a nifty hesitation dribble. But the Buckeyes settled in, scoring the game’s next seven points and eventually taking a 29-28 lead when Craft drove for a layup.
Ohio State was ahead 31-30 at halftime.
The Buckeyes led 48-40 after a 3-pointer by Lenzelle Smith Jr., but Hardaway and the Wolverines rallied. Hardaway’s fourth 3-pointer of the half put the Wolverines up 55-54.
Amid all that, the Buckeyes stayed patient on offense. Smith’s three-point play inside put Ohio State back ahead, and a 3-pointer by LaQuinton Ross made it 60-55.
Ohio State led 62-60 after another 3-pointer by Hardaway, and the Wolverines were eventually able to stop the Buckeyes for a couple of possessions. Burke’s breakaway layup followed by a 3-pointer from Nik Stauskas put Michigan back ahead 65-64.
With tension mounting, both teams took advantage of fortunate bounces. After Hardaway’s shot was blocked, the Wolverines came up with the loose ball and immediately got it to Burke for a 3 that put them up 68-65. At the other end, Nik Stauskas grabbed a defensive rebound, but his poor pass bounced right to Thomas, who caught it in rhythm in front of the Ohio State bench and sank a 3 to tie it.
Smith tied it at 72 with a shot from the left corner in the final minute of regulation — his foot was on the 3-point line — and Ohio State held on to force overtime.
“We showed more heart tonight than we have in a long time, and that’s big,” Thomas said. “I know we didn’t get the win, but if we keep playing like this, we will.”