Buckeyes lose at struggling Michigan

First Posted: 2/22/2015

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Ohio State came out flat and handed Michigan a highlight in an otherwise lost season for the Wolverines.

Spike Albrecht scored 16 points to help the Wolverines upset the 24th-ranked Buckeyes 64-57 on Sunday.

“It seemed like we were on our heels too much defensively,” Buckeyes coach Thad Matta said. “I was disappointed we didn’t fight a little harder.”

The Buckeyes (19-8, 8-6 Big Ten) trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half before closing to 49-46 with seven minutes left with a 14-0 run. Zak Irvin answered with a 3-pointer a minute later and Ohio State never got closer than four points the rest of the day.

“This felt like a rivalry game,” said Albrecht, who added five assists. “The emotion was there.”

D’Angelo Russell had 16 points and Keita Bates-Diop scored 12 as the Buckeyes lost their second straight.

Irvin added 15, seven rebounds and four assists for the injury-depleted Wolverines (14-13, 7-8), who defeated a Top 25 team for the first time this season.

Albrect and Irvin each played 38 minutes and fellow starters Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Aubrey Dawkins were on the floor for 37 and 34, respectively.

Ohio State helped by making just 10 first-half field goals (48 percent).

The Buckeyes won 71-52 on Jan. 13 after forcing 13 turnovers and holding the Wolverines to 34 percent shooting, but Michigan was much sharper against the press Sunday. They turned the ball over only nine times and none of the miscues shifted momentum.

“Not turning the ball over was huge for us,” said coach John Beilein, whose team also had 13 assists. “(Thirteen assists) means you made two people guard you and you got somebody open.”

The victory evened the season series with the Buckeyes and ended a five-game losing streak overall for Michigan, which hadn’t won since topping visiting Nebraska on Jan. 27.

The Buckeyes are 1-8 this season when trailing at halftime. They were better on the offensive glass in the second half and reduced their giveaways. Meanwhile, Michigan stuck to what worked in the first 20 minutes.

The Wolverines milked the clock on nearly every possession and rarely attempted a field goal with more than 10 seconds to shoot. They went scoreless for more than seven minutes midway through the period before Irvin ended the drought with his third 3-pointer.

Ohio State had a three-minute scoreless streak and Irvin and Albrecht each scored to push the lead to 60-50 with less than a minute to play.

The Buckeyes ended the game with a 36-28 advantage on the glass but they only had five more offensive rebounds than the Wolverines, who got two big ones from Max Biefeldt in the closing minutes to stay ahead.

“Our young guys are learning about a sense of urgency,” Beilein said. “The will of our guys was terrific.”


Ohio State: Russell entered the game as the country’s top freshman scorer (19.1 ppg) but struggled in the first half. He had just three points at halftime on 1-for-4 shooting and had two turnovers.

He wasn’t much better in the second. Russell got his last 13 points by going 5 for 11 from the floor and had three second-half turnovers.

“”We tried to make other guys hurt us,” said Albrecht, who frequently was on Russell as Michigan opted to eschew a zone defense most of the game.

Michigan: The Wolverines avoided their third six-game losing streak under coach John Beilein. His first squad dropped a half-dozen straight during the 2007-08 season. The 2010-11 team did the same but recovered to earn an NCAA tournament berth.

INJURY REPORT: Michigan starting center Ricky Doyle limped off the court with an ankle injury late in the first half and did not return until halfway through the second. He played only three more minutes but Beilein said he did not believe the freshman was hurt seriously. Point guard Derrick Walton missed his seventh straight game with a foot injury.

UNHAPPY TRIP: Sunday’s loss ended an 0-2 swing through the Great Lakes State for the Buckeyes, who dropped a 59-56 decision at Michigan State on Valentine’s Day after the Spartans made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Ohio State has lost its last three games at Crisler Center.

FEW OPTIONS: The Wolverines almost certainly will need to win the Big Ten tournament title to secure an NCAA tournament bid and Beilein already is making plans if that doesn’t happen. He said Saturday his team only would accept an NIT berth if it’s not invited to the big dance.

Michigan would refuse to play in the College Basketball Invitational or Collegeinsiders.com tournament. The Wolverines have played in the NCAA tournament in five of Beilein’s first seven seasons.


Ohio State returns home Thursday evening to face Nebraska.