Unbeaten no more: No. 2 Michigan fights hard, but can't dig out of early hole in 56-53 loss at Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Michigan entered Sunday with a chance to take over the No. 1 spot in America.
And after playing the worst basketball of its season to open the game, the Wolverines still had a chance to steal one on the road in Columbus.
But Trey Burke's last-ditch 3-pointer rimmed in and out in the closing seconds, ruining Michigan's comeback bid and handing the Wolverines their first loss of the season in a 56-53 setback at Ohio State.
After committing 9 turnovers and going down as many as 21 during the first 13 minutes of the first half, Michigan shook off its early road rust to start fighting back in the second.
The Wolverines fought back to within 12 at the break, and used an extended 14-3 run to draw within 8 after a Mitch McGary tip-in with 15:06 to go in the game.
The Wolverines weren't done, either, as a 10-0 run was capped by a Tim Hardaway Jr. triple to cut the lead to just one with 6:53 to play. Less than a minute later, Glenn Robinson III would tie the game at 46-all with another 3-pointer -- but that's as close as the Wolverines got.
Ohio State re-upped its lead to six, though, right away -- but Michigan fired back one more time. Drawing within two after a Robinson steal and slam.
The Wolverines had one chance to tie or take the lead in the closing seconds -- but Burke's step-back 3-pointer went in and out with :13.9 seconds to play.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Aaron Craft hit four straight free throws to seal the deal in the closing seconds before Burke hit a meaningless triple just before the horn.
Deshaun Thomas paced Ohio State with a game-high 20 points on 8 of 18 shooting. Burke led Michigan with 15 points, while Hardaway finished with 12.
-- Michigan's first half was a complete disaster. The Wolverines looked rattled and panicked on the road, and appeared to be slugging in quicksand for the first 15 minutes. Trey Burke didn't look comfortable, Tim Hardaway didn't either -- and none of the freshmen seemed ready for the punch Ohio State threw. During the first half, Michigan finished with 9 turnovers and just 7 made field goals.
-- Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft controlled Trey Burke for the first 20 minutes. Burke finished the first half with 5 points and 1 assists in 17 minutes -- and was completely ineffective due to Craft's defense. Burke had his worst game of the season -- by far -- finishing with 15 points on 4 of 13 shooting.
-- Tim Hardaway Jr. had a rough first half. He went 1 of 6 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, and started out the game going just 1 of 8 from the field. He eventually finished with 12 points on 5 of 15 shooting.
-- Michigan freshman Nik Stauskas had his worst game as a Wolverine -- the 6-foot-6 Canadian wing did not score, finishing the game 0 of 3 from the field. Stauskas had scored in double figures in each of his last 15 games.
-- Spike Albrecht basically kept Michigan in the building in the first half with Burke playing flustered. The freshman point guard had 7 points in the first 20 minutes, and was easily Michigan's most composed player on the floor.
-- After looking completely frazzled during the game's first 10 minutes, Michigan showed a great deal of poise to get back into the game -- and nearly had a chance to steal it. Ohio State shot 8 of 23 in the second half ....
-- For the first time in a long time against Ohio State, Michigan wasn't completely brutalized on the glass. The Wolverines held their own inside, actually drawing even on the glass -- 30-30.
ISSUE OF THE DAY: REVISITED
-- Michigan had a chance to take over the top spot in America -- but 10 horrible minutes on the road ruined that chance.
The Wolverines will be able to find positives in this game for the way they came back and fought, but Michigan looked completely lost on the road in what was its worst half of basketball this season.
No one hid either -- Trey Burke was bad, Tim Hardaway Jr. was bad, Nik Stauskas was bad. It wasn't good.
Considering how much worse this could have been Sunday, are you encouraged by Michigan's comeback? Or completely disappointed with the way the Wolverines opened the game?
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