In an up-and-down season like the one the Michigan Wolverines have had, the chance to get a streak of any kind going is worth it’s weight in gold.
Of course, a win against the Ohio State in any sport is worth just as much too.
On Sunday, the Wolverines accomplished both in one performance, knocking off the Buckeyes in a solid 77-69 performance that has the potential to start a last-ditch NCAA Tournament bid headed into the final weeks.
Here’s how the game played out for Michigan:
Bolstered by their performance against the Northwestern Wildcats, Michigan came out firing on all cylinders to start Sunday’s matchup — quickly racking up a six-point cushion in the opening five minutes. Ohio State meanwhile struggled to find a rhythm, making just four of its first 13 shots.
Though the Buckeyes recovered from their initial shooting woes and even trimmed the margin to only three points midway through the half, the Wolverines’ shooting prevented any sustained Ohio State run from lasting long. In particular, the performances of Hunter Dickinson inside (5-for-7) and Jett Howard from beyond the arc (2-for-4) proved more than enough to keep the Buckeyes at bay.
While Ohio State was able to close the gap somewhat to end the half, the Wolverines sat at a healthy five-point margin headed into the locker room. Statistically, Dickinson led Michigan’s scoring efforts with 13 points in the half, while Kobe Bufkin finished as the half’s rebound leader after grabbing five boards.
In contrast to its first half performance, Ohio State was able to quickly find a rhythm coming out of the locker room for the second half — shooting 50% from the floor to cut the lead to one possession in the sixth minute. Ultimately the hot start wasn’t enough to swing momentum, as the Wolverines quickly yanked the lead back to nine.
Once the momentum was planted firmly in Michigan’s corner, it snowballed into a comfortable double-digit lead that stuck around for almost all of the final 10 minutes of game clock. While the Buckeyes were able to cut the margin back to single digits in the final seconds, it wasn’t much of a consolation prize as the Wolverines exited the floor with a comfortable eight-point victory.
Statistically, Dickinson finished the game as both Michigan’s points and rebounding leader, posting a double-double performance with 26 points and 11 boards.
The Wolverines stay in Ann Arbor this week, and play the second of three straight home games on Wednesday, Feb. 8 against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and will be on Big Ten Network.