U-M puts scare into Ohio State but falls again

BY foxsports • February 3, 2011

Feb. 4, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio mdash; Michigan center Jordan Morgan banged his fist against a locker in frustration. The Wolverines got close again mdash; just not close enough.

For the second time this season, Michigan gave Ohio State a scare, but couldn't close it out, and fell 62-53 on Thursday night at Value City Arena.

The loss slows momentum built from wins at Michigan State and against Iowa last week.

"We're confident," Morgan said. "We know we can win and we're going to keep playing like this. We know where we're going to get to, but we can't skip the process."

Playing on national TV (ESPN), Michigan (13-10, 3-7 Big Ten) built a halftime lead, but No. 1 Ohio State pulled ahead behind the play of standout freshman Jared Sullinger, who finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

"It's hard to guard him and stop him without fouling him," coach John Beilein said. "Sullinger obviously is a freshman, but he's a very unusual freshman."

Like in the first meeting this season, the Wolverines gave Sullinger a lot of different defensive looks, with double-teams, zones and man-to-man. Sullinger had just 12 points and seven rebounds in the first game, but he was tougher this time.

"Most of the time, when he got the ball, we did try to throw some action at him," Beilein said. "But there were times, if we went solo coverage, it meant somebody made a mistake somewhere because we were trying not to give him any one-on-one situations."

Ohio State (23-0, 10-0) started quickly, going up 7-0 in the first 90 seconds. Darius Morris made a pair of baskets for Michigan, which later tied it 14-14 on 3-pointers by Tim Hardaway Jr. (15 points) and Zack Novak.

Michigan moved ahead on a jumper by Morris (12 points) and a lay-in by Hardaway to take a 26-23 halftime lead. Sullinger had eight points and eight assists in the first half, but the rest of the Ohio State players were held in check. The Buckeyes shot 9 for 25 (36 percent) in the first half, 2 for 8 on 3-pointers.

Michigan held Ohio State without a basket for a six-minute span starting at 3:16 of the first half. The Wolverines went on an 8-1 spurt, spurred by two straight baskets by Morgan. But William Buford followed with back-to-back 3-pointers, tying it 30-30.

The Buckeyes used a 12-2 spurt to take control midway through the second half, denying Michigan's perimeter players good looks at the basket.

"They played us differently than everybody has played us by really locking in on all the shooters, even on weak-side help," Beilein said. "We missed some good shots and they made some during that time."

Evan Smotrycz and Hardaway followed with consecutive 3's to cut the lead to two, but Sullinger scored four straight to keep the Buckeyes ahead. From there, Ohio State never trailed.

Hearing the whistles

Michigan was in foul trouble almost the entire second half, putting Ohio State in the bonus for the last 14:19. The Buckeyes weren't called for a foul until the 10:57 mark.

Ohio State went 15 for 25 on free throws, Michigan 1 for 4.

"It's something we've got to learn," Beilein said. "We traditionally do not get to the foul line lots as a team, but we get there more than four times.

"We didn't get there and I'm disappointed in that. That is part of their normal plan."

Glimpse of the future

Michigan signee Trey Burke sat a couple rows behind the Ohio State bench, but was conspicuously dressed in a Michigan sweatshirt.

Burke, a point guard and high school teammate of Sullinger at Northland High in Columbus, greeted Beilein after the game.

"He's a very brave young man mdash; he was all dressed in blue coming into this place," Beilein said. "We can't wait to coach him

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