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No. 22 UM bounces No. 8 Ohio State to avenge loss

February 18, 2018

Ann Arbor — Michigan found itself in control with a double-digit lead over Ohio State in the second half.

Sound familiar?

This time around, the Wolverines flipped the script and avenged their crushing loss earlier this season with a 74-62 victory over the Buckeyes in front of a sellout crowd in Sunday’s home finale at Crisler Center. Ohio State’s loss gives Michigan State a full-game lead in Big Ten standings.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman led the charge with 17 points for No. 22 Michigan (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten), which snapped a three-game losing skid in the series. Jordan Poole provided a spark off the bench with 15 points, Zavier Simpson scored 13 and Moritz Wagner added 12 points and seven rebounds.

BOX SCORE: No. 22 Michigan 74, No. 8 Ohio State 62

Jae’Sean Tate finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds and Keita Bates-Diop scored 17 for No. 8 Ohio State (22-7, 13-3), which won the rebounding battle, 40-30, but missed nine of its final 13 shots over the final nine minutes of the game.

After leading by eight early in the second half, Michigan’s offense slowed down as it missed four straight shots and went nearly four minutes without a basket. The cold spell allowed Ohio State to chip away with a 6-0 run that ended with a Tate three-point play to make it 36-34 with 17:26 remaining.

Abdur-Rahkman snapped the field-goal drought with a driving layup and Jon Teske followed with a two-handed slam to put Michigan up six roughly three minutes later.

The Wolverines’ offense began to pick back up, scoring on six straight possessions and making five consecutive field goals to extend the lead to 55-46 with 10:08 to play following back-to-back layups by Charles Matthews and Jaaron Simmons and a jumper by Abdur-Rahkman.

But just when it seemed like Michigan was starting to pull away, Ohio State pushed back with six straight points, including a 3-pointer by Bates-Diop, to cut it to three at the 7:53 mark.

Michigan mustered a response as Ohio State went on to miss nine of its next 10 shots with two free throws and layup from Simpson around a Poole 3-pointer to regain a nine-point advantage, 62-53, with 5:48 left.

Both teams went over two minutes without scoring a point before Abdur-Rahkman nailed a 3-pointer and Wagner converted a three-point play to give Michigan its largest lead, 68-55, with 2:12 to go and effectively put the game out of reach.

Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson fittingly added the finishing touches with a pair of free throws in the final 1:02 to seal the rivalry win as Michigan finished 15-1 at home this season.

Michigan had active hands early and was getting in the passing lanes to disrupt Ohio State’s offense as the Wolverines forced four turnovers in the Buckeyes’ first five possessions to start the game.

However, Michigan was only able to turn those early steals into four points as it missed five of its first six shots of the game before the teams began to trade baskets in a physical back-and-forth start.

After Ohio State took a four-point lead with 10:51 left in the first half, Michigan held the Buckeyes without a field goal for over three minutes and scored five straight on a Poole 3-pointer and Moritz Wagner dunk to spark a 16-4 run.

Poole added a nifty layup and a four-point play sandwiched around a 3-pointer from Abdur-Rahkman before Simpson capped the spurt with a layup to make it 26-18 at the 5:19 mark.

The Buckeyes managed to pull within three – thanks to two offensive putbacks by Tate – before Poole rattled in a 3-pointer and Teske knocked down a short jumper to re-establish an eight-point advantage.

However, it didn’t last as Bates-Diop drilled a 3-pointer before time expired to stem the momentum and cut Michigan’s lead to 33-28 at halftime.

Before the game, Michigan celebrated “Senior Day” and honored its four departing players: Austin Hatch, Abdur-Rahkman, Simmons and Robinson.

Hatch, who survived two deadly plane crashes that killed several of his family members, dressed for the game, participated in warmups and was introduced as an honorary captain when the starting lineup was announced. But due to NCAA rules, he wasn’t able to play since he’s still on a medical scholarship.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

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