INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s a quick look at Ohio State’s 68-61 win over Michigan in the Big Ten tournament semifinals on Saturday.
How the game was won: Ohio State had spurts during which it would build a lead on Michigan and then allow the Wolverines back into the game. The Buckeyes stopped toying around and shut the door on Michigan’s upset hopes in the game’s final 10 minutes. Michigan nearly made an improbable comeback in the final minutes, cutting the lead to four with an assortment of 3-pointer, but it was too late.
Turning point: Tim Hardaway Jr. cut Ohio State’s lead to 47-45 with 9:53 left in the game. From there, it was almost all Buckeyes. They responded with a 16-0 run. Aaron Craft and William Buford combined for 11 points in the run.
Player of the game: Ohio State was pretty balanced on Saturday with /five players scoring between seven and 16 points. Jon Diebler came out hot. William Buford contributed later. But again, the honor has to go to freshman Jared Sullinger. He recorded his 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Michigan player of the game: Darius Morris tried to keep the Wolverines in the game. He finished with a team-high 16 points.
Unsung hero of the game: Ohio State freshman Deshaun Thomas came off the bench and provided nine point and four rebounds.
ESPN SportsCenter highlight of the game: Ohio State center Dallas Lauderdale blocked shots on back-to-back possession late in the second half to continue the Buckeyes’ huge run.
What the game means: The Big Ten regular-season champs will get a chance to also win the conference’s tournament title. The Buckeyes struggled against Northwestern in their conference tournament opener on Friday, but looked like their usual, dominant selves on Saturday. For Michigan, Saturday would have been icing on the cake. The Wolverines needed to beat Illinois on Friday to guarantee itself a NCAA tournament spot, and they achieved that.