Michigan starts out hot, but cools off in second half; loses to Ohio State 15-6

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The Wolverines were looking to avoid a fifth-consecutive loss on Saturday, but got blown out in the second half.

It was yet another beautiful day for lacrosse in a sign that the long winter may finally be over. Please, please be over! Saturday's temps and conditions were great for everyone, but the game itself warmed up and became too blistering hot for Michigan to stay in it.

Although Carter Brown put the Buckeyes on the board first, Ian King and David Joseph followed up with scores of their own and gave Michigan the 2-1 lead. King's score came at the 8:40 mark of the first period and right from the top of the crease, while Joseph's score was at the 4:54 mark of the same quarter on a hands-free score after burning past his defender. Jesse king tied it up for Ohio State, but Riley Kennedy, Kyle Jackson, and David Joseph (for the second time) had Michigan rolling.

It looked like it was going to be yet another conference win for the Wolverines, but Ohio State played more consistently, the defense shut out the Wolverines in the second half, and the offense's 9-goal tear was a part of a larger 13-1 run from that aforementioned 13:27 mark in the second quarter. The lone Michigan score came out of the stick of Mikie Schlosser, who was able to beat OSU goalie Scott Spencer up high. Jesse King was the Buckeyes' leading scorer with 5 goals; Carter Brown, Ryan Hunter, and Turner Evans each had multiple goals for Ohio State.

Michigan Ohio State
Goals-shot attempts 6-26 15-49
Shot % .231 .306
Shots on goal 15 30
SOG% .400 .612
Man-up opps. 0-2 1-2
Ground balls 16 33
Turnovers 15 14
Caused turnovers 3 6
Face-offs 9-25 (.360) 16-25 (.640)
Clears 14-18 (.778) 13-15 (.867)
Saves 15 9
Penalities-Minutes 2-3:00 2-2:00

Michigan just could not get anything going on face-off. Brad Lott finished the day 9-23. Will Biagi got into the action, too, but was 0-2 when he was at the dot. I hate to think of how much better this team could be this year if only they had some consistency in this area. This is clearly something that will be a focus going into next season.

For some reason, Michigan was not able to maintain positive possessions in the second half, turning the ball over eight times, but what felt like a much higher number than that. In fact, I was surprised to see that it was "only" eight times, as I had actually lost track of how many times I saw a pass go past the intended player and out of bounds. The ground balls also dried up, with the Wolverines able to grab only six to Ohio State's 19 in the second half.

There were a few things to take away from Saturday's game:

- Well, Michigan started out hot. Although the Buckeyes struggled, credit should go to Michigan for being able to play consistently and find Scott Spencer's weaknesses, even if for a little while.

- With Bellarmine being a disaster in the ECAC, Michigan has a spot in the ECAC tournament that starts on May 1. Since the ECAC gets an automatic qualifier into the NCAA tournament, Michigan still has a chance, albeit remote, to turn this season into something very special.

- Much like in Michigan last week, this week's game in Columbus coincided with the football spring game. But, Ohio State does it right. Instead of playing the lacrosse game after the spring game, giving everyone a chance to leave the stadium, Ohio State held the lacrosse game before the spring game. Just look at the attendance numbers--Battle at the Big House: 1,636; Showdown in the Shoe: 17,641. And as the BTN crew pointed out, they stop counting people at halftime, so that number was very likely much higher by the end of the game. The Michigan athletic department should keep that in mind for next year; the best way to promote the program is to have eyeballs on the team. With next year being the first year of Big Ten lacrosse, perhaps a big-time match-up with someone like Hopkins or Maryland can be scheduled to generate excitement. If you need help with that, give me a call, okay Mr. Brandon?

Michigan's next opponent will be the 13th-ranked Yale Bulldogs in Michigan Stadium on April 19 at 4:00 ET. Preview to come later in the week.

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