Believe? Michigan basketball sends message with 56-51 win over No. 6 Ohio State
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Updated 12:19 a.m.
Whether the Michigan basketball program is officially "back" may be something still left up for debate.
But the Wolverines' answer to any remaining doubters Saturday was rather clear.
Do you believe in us yet?
The 17th-ranked Wolverines got 17 points and five assists from freshman point guard Trey Burke and a double-double from Jordan Morgan in a 56-51 triumph over No. 6 Ohio State in front of a frenzied sellout Crisler Center crowd.
"Our seniors, we don't have the greatest record against them," Michigan senior co-captain Zack Novak said. "These games have always been close, but they've always found a way to win at the end.
"It's just another step in the right direction."
The victory keeps Michigan (20-7, 10-4 Big Ten) unbeaten at home this season, moving the Wolverines to 15-0, and snaps a six-game losing streak against Ohio State (22-5, 10-4).
MICHIGAN 56, OHIO STATE 51
Jordan Morgan played "like a man," Trey Burke continued to defy the laws of freshmen behavior and Michigan (20-7, 10-4) scored its first victory over rival Ohio State (22-5, 10-4) in six tries. In front of a rabid, ESPN College GameDay-fueled sellout crowd, the Wolverines dumped the Buckeyes and moved within a half game of first-place Michigan State in the Big Ten standings. Morgan's 11 points and 11 rebounds marked his first career double-double.
Michigan is 15-0 at the Crisler Center this season and is now one victory away from becoming the first Wolverines team since 1976-77 to finish a regular-season with a perfect home record. The sellout, pompom-waving crowd of 12,721 on Saturday was Michigan's eighth of the season, and it included Michigan football quarterback Denard Robinson and head football coach Brady Hoke.
PRIDE OF COLUMBUS
Once again, Burke seemed to be the last-minute difference between a Michigan victory and a narrow loss. Burke finished with a team-high 17 points and was able to beat Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft twice in the game's final 1:15 to ice the Michigan victory. Burke, a Columbus, Ohio, native, scored his first career win over his hometown team.
“We’re getting this thing going in the right direction. When you’re rebuilding programs, there’s a lot of small moments, a lot of small victories. Today was one.”
Trey Burke proving to be final piece to Michigan's title hopes
Notebook: Jordan Morgan 'plays like a man' in win over OSU and more notes
Ohio State coach Thad Matta surprised by Buckeyes' poor shooting
Highlights from ESPN GameDay broadcast at Crisler | Photo gallery
Boxscore | Top 25 scores | Big Ten scores
The last Michigan team to score 20 wins in a season faster than the 2011-12 version was the 1993-94 team, which featured Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson and made an Elite Eight appearance.
Should the Wolverines score a senior night win over Purdue next Saturday, it'll be the first time a Michigan team finishes the regular season with a perfect home record since the 1976-77 Big Ten-title squad went 14-0 at Crisler Arena.
More importantly, Michigan now pulls even with Ohio State for second-place in the conference, behind league-leading Michigan State.
"We're in position to be in position," Michigan sophomore wing Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "We can't take this for granted."
Morgan turned in perhaps his best performance at Michigan, putting up 11 points and 11 rebounds against Ohio State All-American Jared Sullinger.
Hardaway was the other Wolverine in double-figures, finishing with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Ohio State sophomore Deshaun Thomas finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with 13 rebounds, while Sullinger finished with 14 points and eight boards.
"That was why we're in the weight room," said Michigan coach John Beilein, whose team was out-rebounded by nine, but outscored OSU by two in the paint. "(Morgan) gets a double-double, we didn't double the whole time on Sullinger, we varied our action with him and that had a lot to do with confidence in what Jordan could do."
The game was highlighted by the loudest and most frenzied home crowd Michigan has played in front of this season. The sellout group of maize-clad, pompom-waving fans charged the building long before tip.
With Michigan football quarterback Denard Robinson once again leading cheers from the student section, and football coach Brady Hoke leading a rendition of "The Victors" on the floor after the first media timeout, the Wolverines responded on the floor -- moving in front by seven after a pair of Hardaway free throws midway through the half.
The lead stayed at seven after a Burke jumper with 40 seconds to go, but Thomas cut Michigan's lead to 25-20 at the break with a tip-in just before the horn.
Both teams went through field goal droughts of at least five minutes before the break, and neither entered the locker room shooting better than 40 percent from the floor.
Michigan seized control early in the second, getting two thunderous one-handed jams from Morgan before two Burke foul shots gave Michigan its largest lead, 35-25, with 14:40 to go.
Ohio State battled back. Led by the outside play of Thomas and the inside play of Sullinger, the Buckeyes clawed within three points when a pair of Sullinger foul shots made it 48-45 with less than five minutes remaining.
The Buckeyes stayed within three down to the wire, until Burke beat Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft off the dribble for a soaring layup, putting the Wolverines up five with 1:14 left.
"When there's like a minute left and we're up five, I'm thinking, 'We're getting this done,'" Novak said. "Then Trey just stepped up and made huge plays.
"It was one we had to have."
On the ensuing possession, Burke combined with Morgan to block a Craft layup attempt -- the ball was then ruled out of bounds off Craft, giving Michigan possession.
Burke then missed the front end of a one-and-one, and a pair of Craft foul shots made it a three-point game again with 42.5 to play.
But Burke eventually sealed the deal, putting in a runner off the glass with less than 15 seconds to go to reclaim a five-point edge for the Wolverines.
Ohio State had no answer.
The Wolverines finished 22-for-47 from the floor, holding Ohio State to just 19-of-49 shooting (38.8 percent).
Michigan finished the game with five charges drawn, and outside of Sullinger and Thomas, Ohio State got just 12 points from the rest of its roster.
For the Wolverines, who visit Northwestern on Tuesday (8 p.m., BTN), the win kept the team's hopes of a possible Big Ten title alive, got Novak and Douglass over the hump against Ohio State and ended a lengthy stretch of national attention courtesy of ESPN's College GameDay.
In short, it was a banner day for the surging Michigan basketball program.
"We're getting this thing going in the right direction," Beilein said. "When you're rebuilding programs there's a lot of small moments, a lot of small victories.
"Today was one."
Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.
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Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.
Darius who? Great game, great defense. Missed a few layups I would have liked to see go in which would have give osu the same beating they gave us in Columbo, but this team can beat anybody when they hit a good % of their shots. Taking charges is an art these guy are masters at it.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:51 p.m.
@ msubball2010 your sparties are 1 and 4 vs Blue in the last 2 seasons,and you wanna talk smack !! Typical sparty ! TiM GO BLUE..
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.
3-1 is your biggest acomplishment in 15 years. How can you talk smack about that? You haven't even made a Sweet 16 in that span of 15 years. While we have been to 6 final 4s, 2 nat champ games and we have 1 nat champ plus multiple b1g champs. LOL
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.
MSU...LOL....LOL....sounding more and more like a 12y/o girl........LOL
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.
3-1 is their biggest accomplishment in 15 yrs lol
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.
Go back over the last ten years and compare records and then come back and talk smack about MSU basketball's dominance of UM, bludogg.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.
LOL and that is the biggest accomplishment your program has had in 15 yrs! Name a bigger accomplishment??? LOL. 6 final 4s in 13 yrs, 2 nat champ games and 1 nat champ. In that time frame you haven't even made a sweet 16 LOL
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.
A balanced effort all around. If not for Sullinger or the amazing performance last night by DeShaun Thomas the Buckeyes get completely blown off the court. Jordan Morgan held Sullinger in check for the most part and then outside of Thomas, who else stepped up for the Suckeyes? I was very proud of the Maize n Blue last night. They had contributions form everyone. I'm so happy for Novak and Douglas to go out like this their Senior year. GO BLUE!!!!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 1:47 p.m.
So, after watching way more than my fair share of bad basketball since becoming a season ticket holder in 1999 my alma matter does the right thing and imposes increased ticket prices yesterday. Anyone disgusted with the new PSD?
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 1:28 p.m.
I would love to see a convincing road win or two to give em more confidence going into the tournament - where we won't have this awesome home court advantage.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.
Stu and Zack are true Michigan men. 4 year guys who lead by example on and off the court. The crowd at Crisler was one for the ages and the mental toughness down the stretch was a great thing to see. I hope these two continue to lead and don't allow this team to overlook their next few opponents with a title on the line.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.
They need to keep the intensity level going, especially this coming Tues. @ Northwestern. They escaped against them earlier this year at Crisler 66-64.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.
Sparty thanks u 4 the help. CONGRATULATIONS
Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.
Hey Terry, It is you're not your. Obviously you didn't go to uofm. 1-3 isn't an accomplishment for us. We've been to 6 final 4s in 13 yrs buddy. You guys going 3-1 is the biggest accomplishment your program has had in 15 yrs. LOL
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.
ps....sack sack spartys win one of the last four and the lip service starts.....lol.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:53 p.m.
Az.....your right little sister sparty isn't the competition, look at the panic they show coming to our site...lol...
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:38 p.m.
AZ, Don't worry little brother, you aren't our rival either LOL. You haven't won a B1G championship since 86 and I can't remember the last time I saw you guys even make the 2nd weekend in March. What has it been over 15 years? LOL GO GREEN
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.
Where's the "edit" button? 'Bitters of enemies?' I meant 'most bitter of enemies'...which certainly isn't Sparty.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.
Who? We just beat our ARCH RIVAL and some second rate, wannabe rival is thanking us. You and Wisconsin are welcome, although beating our bitters of enemies is all the thanks this team needs.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.
sorry, indiana and OSU
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.
sparty still needs a lot more help. you have OSU and wisconsin on the docket. have fun.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:20 a.m.
I will only truly "believe" UM Basketball has arrived when they no longer need to showcase their Football quarterback and coach at their games.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.
AZ, Classic Wolverine fan. Jumping on the band wagon, running his mouth when his basketball program finally has some success. All the other years you just hide in the background saying WE'RE A FOOTBALL SCHOOL AND I DON'T CARE ABOUT BASKETBALL. LOL. But the second UofM has some success you are running your mouth. Just an FYI going 1-3 against MSU and beating OSU isn't much success. PROGRAMS win conference championship, make Final 4s and win nat champs. Your "program" still has a LONG way to go little bro. GO GREEN
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.
UM will always showcase their football program...we are a football school. Kicking butt in basketball is just icing on the cake...which really sucks for schools that consider themselves basketball schools when we kick their butts, too.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 2:14 p.m.
I love to read the panic in people's posts.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.
That's foolish! That's like saying the Lakers could not win without Jack Nicholson at court side!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.
Oohh, low blow! The teams support each other, I love seeing the football players, coaches. the band, students coming out to cheer on the other teams. Big 10 is the overall strongest men's basketball conference this year and Michigan is in the mix. Go Blue. Great victory. Wish I had been there. I have tickets for senior day against Purdue, 2/24.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.
Marketing the brand at it's finest!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:19 a.m.
Nice, nice win. I like our chances this year, I like our chances next year.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.
Thank you John Beilein! Blue is back!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 4:53 a.m.
Wow! When was the last time Michigan had senior leadership like this? I can't say enough good things about Stu and Zack. It's such an honor to be able to watch them play. I'm gonna miss them when this season is over. I think Michigan wins 3 of the next 4. If they somehow win out, they'll be in a good position for a #2 seed in the tournament. At this point they'd really have to screw up to get anything worse than a #4 seed.
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 4:32 a.m.
Awesome! 20 wins before the end of February! Finish strong, Blue!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 4:29 a.m.
Freakin awesome. Go Blue!!!
Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.
No doubt this team is for real!...Senior leadership with a freshman playing out of his mind...that's the combination for a deep run in the tourney.