Michigan 72 - Ohio State 69: One Final Run

Andy Lyons

In a game where the score swung wildly, Michigan had one last run in it, allowing the Wolverines to advance to the Big Ten Tournament final on Sunday.

The first few minutes seemed to foreshadow a big win for Michigan.  The Wolverines came out hot and hit almost everything from behind the three point line, eventually running out to a 16 point lead.  However, Ohio State would chip its way back into the game and make it four points by the end of the first half.

The second half went just about the same way.  Michigan jumped out to another double digit lead in the first few minutes of the half before Ohio State began to chip away.  With just over four minutes left Ohio State went up three points.  The Buckeyes would only score once more — a free throw — while Michigan scored the final seven points to win.

For as well as Michigan played over stretches of gametime, there were a number of issues that are looking even more glaring after Michigan's second straight escape past a defensive oriented squad.  Michigan has been shut down for long stretches in the second half of its last two games, and even worse, the Wolverines have proceeded to give up big runs to opposing offenses at the same time.  This has turned two games Michigan should have won big into nail-biters.

Still, Michigan is doing what it needs to do to survive.  The wing trio of Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, and Glenn Robinson III had 18, 17, and 11 respectively in the win.  LeVert also led the team in rebounds with eight.

Michigan's hot start from outside cooled down and the Wolverines eventually finished the game 52% from outside, which is great until you realize that Michigan also matched that number at the free throw line.

It wasn't the prettiest game, but Michigan came out of it on the other side with a win.  Both coaches talked at halftime about this being a game of runs, and Michigan just happened to have one left in the tank at the end, which is enough to move on.

The Wolverines will face the winner of this afternoon's Michigan State-Wisconsin game tomorrow at 3:30pm for the Big Ten Tournament title.  Michigan will also likely be playing for a number one seed (as will Wisconsin if the Badgers advance).

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