The Michigan Wolverines took down the Ohio State Buckeyes 77-69 at home on Sunday. Although both teams are having rough seasons, a rivalry is always a rivalry. The Wolverines (13-10) have picked up two solid wins in a row after their impressive road win against Northwestern on Thursday. The Buckeyes (11-12) fell below .500 and have now lost nine of their last ten games.
The first half was as competitive as a rivalry game should be. Michigan improved vastly on so many things that have been an issue in the past. They shot 51% from the field in the first half, with three players scoring in double figures.
Hunter Dickinson had 13 points and four boards. Kobe Bufkin, who has been the best player on the team the past few games, added ten points, five rebounds, and four assists. Jett Howard, fresh off an injury, also contributed ten points and one rebound.
On the other end of the rivalry, the biggest threats for the Buckeyes in the first half were Bruce Thornton and Justice Sueing. Thornton contributed 11 points and Sueing added eight and two rebounds. But the Buckeyes’ shot under 40% overall.
The second half was a complete Wolverines takeover. Similar to the first half, the leading scorers were Dickinson, Bufkin, and Howard. Dug McDaniel also had a slight emergence all around.
Michigan was much more aggressive in the second half. The wing defense looked great, the offensive distribution was better, and the play-calling was well designed. Dickinson finished with 26 points, 11 boards, and two assists. Bufkin added 13 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Jett Howard also contributed 16 points and two rebounds. McDaniel also added a solid stat line of eight points, four boards, and three assists.
For the Buckeyes, shooting was the main issue. The team did not reach the 40% shooting mark until the end of the game. However, good performances by Thornton and Sueing kept them in the game. Thornton finished with 22 points and one assist. Sueing added 14 points and five boards. The Buckeyes just could not stop the Wolverine offense.
By Kenpom ratings, this was Michigan’s best win of the season. The Wolverines are now tied for third in the conference with a 7-5 record, and they look to keep things rolling this Wednesday against Nebraska at home. Their NCAA Tournament hopes are still alive, but they need a strong stretch run.