Michigan 76, Ohio State 74

Submitted by Ace on February 6th, 2013 at 12:45 AM

Eric Upchurch/MGoBlog

Aaron Craft lay on the floor, hands behind his head, defeated.

For 45 minutes, Craft and his Buckeyes put up a hell of a fight, trading blows with Trey Burke's Michigan squad in front of an electric Crisler Center crowd. Both point guards had their moments of triumph—Burke tallying 16 points and eight assists with just two turnovers, Craft pocketing three steals and scoring 11 points of his own.

In overtime, though, Burke came out on top, redeeming his missed three at the end of regulation with an improbable pull-up triple on Michigan's first overtime possession—a shot that would ultimately provide the winning points. Craft had a jumper from the elbow to give Ohio State the win with the shot clock turned off, but it was Burke's turn to win with his defensive exploits, swatting the shot to Glenn Robinson III. Craft was forced to foul—hard enough to get a review, as it turned out—and Robinson gave the Wolverines a two-point lead with his first free throw. The second was off the mark, however, and the ball found its way to Craft, who quickly drove the length of the court for a game-tying layup, only to be blocked again by Tim Hardaway Jr., and left to stare at the rafters waiting for a whistle that never came.

It was a classic finish to a classic game, in front of a Crisler crowd that was louder than any since the days of the Fab Five (or so I'm told—it was certainly the loudest I've heard dating back to the Ellerbe era). Michigan landed the first haymaker, racing out to an 18-8 lead, but the Buckeyes crawled their way back into it—a jumper from unexpected star LaQuinton Ross gave the visitors a 31-30 halftime edge.

Ohio State pushed their lead to as much as eight in the second half, but they couldn't find an answer for Hardaway, who hit all five of his second-half three-point attempts—including triples on three straight Wolverine possessions—en route to a game-high 23 points. Still, the Wolverines struggled to close the gap completely, failing to guard the interior time and again. It wasn't until a Nik Stauskas three with 3:23 to play that Michigan finally retook the lead, one that lasted all of 24 seconds before an Amir Williams free throw tied it up. After trading buckets, Burke's last-second triple caught only iron to bring on overtime.

While Jordan Morgan was limited to four ineffective minutes with a lingering ankle injury, Mitch McGary (at left, Upchurch) shined in 29 productive minutes—his 14 points proved huge, but even bigger were his four steals and stellar outlet passing, sparking the offense without putting the ball in the hoop himself. When Morgan is back at 100%, he'll still have his starting spot—Jon Horford again got the start tonight—but McGary has made his play for a bigger chunk of the minutes. Fellow freshman Stauskas knocked down 3-of-5 triples to do his part, while Robinson again struggled offensively, needing eight shots to notch ten points.

For the Buckeyes, Deshaun Thomas led the way as usual with 17 points, but Robinson's improved defensive effort forced him to take 15 shots to get there. Instead, it was Ross who repeatedly came up with big shots, pouring in 16 while shooting 7-for-10 from the field.

When the final buzzer sounded, however, it was Michigan coming away with the narrowest of victories. A missed call here, a lucky shot there, any small moment could have made the difference; this time it's the Buckeyes who will stare at the ceiling and wonder.



February 6th, 2013 at 1:20 AM ^

As someone who watched five Freshman take on Duke from inside Crisler, I remember what it was and could be.  That's awesome the place was rockin'.  Can't wait to hear it for the IU game.


February 6th, 2013 at 10:29 AM ^

I think I would be in favor of these as opposed to our other maize unis with the blue spray paint look on the shorts. Didn't care for the all maize accessories though - people like Stauskas & Timmay who were wearing the maize knee pads and/or sleeves in addition to the maize shoes looked like human bananas out there. I say keep the all maize unis, but use the black shoes/socks/pads to give it some Fab 5 flavor.


February 6th, 2013 at 1:48 AM ^

why win easy, when you can win the...hardaway.

but after the win, you saw Hardaway grab the team and get them to say whats up and thanks to the fans. Good to see him lead this team. I hope he gets angry more because he (and the whole damn team for that matter) play much better when they are pissed off.

Spontaneous Co…

February 6th, 2013 at 8:06 AM ^

I am thrilled we won.  But that was a case where offensive talent defeated superior effort.  We played well - like it was a game agaisnt a highly ranked opponent.  They played like their lives were on the line. 

Our defense needs serious work - and people might say it is our interior defense, but I disagree.  It appears that way because we see easy bucket after easy bucket from the other teams' bigs, but that happens primarily when McGary is forced to help, as Brian pointed out post-Indiana.  Something is either wrong with with our perimeter D or our rotations and I hope we get it worked out.


February 6th, 2013 at 1:52 AM ^

"Hardaway, who hit all five of his second-half three-point attempts"

I thought he missed two threes in the second half, but then I realized that those were in overtime. He put on a clinic out there in the second half!


February 6th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

The intent was to foul him as quickly as possible, which people do all the time at the end of the game.  When you are desperate to foul someone, violent fouls often ensue. I don't think the intend was to smash his head. 

Having said that, I think all intentional fouls, like this one, should be techincals.  Why should you be allowed to intentionally foul someone????


February 6th, 2013 at 1:59 AM ^

Ive seen a lot of people on the board in several threads commenting that Craft was fouled and we were lucky. That is total BS.

Just because Dicky V annoyingly wants to annoint Aaron Craft the greatest defender in college basketbal and say he got fouled at the end doesn't mean that people have to follow that lead or buy into it so easily. Craft is a great defender, but he is also the champion of fouling and getting away with it. 

Trey was playing him legally and very similar to how Aaron plays him during the game so why should he get a foul call for something that doesn't get called on him on the other side of the ball. Burke is faster than him and he just shadowed him down the floor as Aaron was using his hand to try and create space. Timmy's block was legal and we shouldn't be bailing a player out just because he is pushing hard to the basket. His shot wasn't affected by Trey's D, Timmy just happened to already be there because Trey shadowed him all the way down the floor. 

Also, we wouldn't even have had this controversy had the officials did there job at halftime and waived of that 3.. 


February 6th, 2013 at 3:43 AM ^

I feel like they relented on the obvious flagrant foul so OSU could have a chance but in return theres no way theyre gonna call that alleged foul at the end.  Overall the refs were terrible, felt like an away game.

Rather be on BA

February 6th, 2013 at 7:09 AM ^

Whether it was a foul or not, I respect Craft's response to the situation: "There was a bit of contact," he said. "But they didn't call it, so I guess it wasn't a foul."

I feel like Sparty would still be crying right now about it versus taking the stance Craft did.  I hate Craft on the court, but he doesn't seem like a bad kid.

Blue in Yarmouth

February 6th, 2013 at 7:38 AM ^

Like him or hate him, Craft is one of the best defenders in the country. I know hearing DV say things makes it hard to take, but on Craft being the best perimeter defender in the country, he's right IMHE. The whole game I was thinking how nice it would be to have a defender like that on our squad.

Having said that, Burke quietly had a big game against the nations top perimeter defender, so there's that to hang our hat on. 

I also agree on the no call at the end. I think that had more to do with the fact that they just let him get away with a flagrant foul on the previous possession than anything else. If that was the middle of the game I could certainly see Burke getting called for a foul. I do think it would have been a foul on the floor though, not the shot.

UofM Die Hard …

February 6th, 2013 at 10:51 AM ^

of a better on ball defender than Craft, I would have to go back a bit in the archives to find someone.

Hate that sum b but the kid is a beast on the defensive end.  Should make an NBA team strictly as a lock down defender..gotta give him props.

Having said that, yahoo, how those cookies taste Craft?

Good gritty win

The Geek

February 6th, 2013 at 8:51 AM ^

With the 3-pointer he hit after the shot clock expired, and the lack of a flagrant called on him, that's potentially a 5-point turnaround (not including GRIII's FT's)...

Call it karma, or a "make-up call" by the refs, ohio fans have little to be upset about. They had a chance to win the game, and only scored 2 points in overtime...


February 6th, 2013 at 3:41 AM ^

When I watch us play other teams and watch ohio state play other teams I feel like we're the better team.  When we play each other, I don't know if they just match up well with us or what, but it feels like an uphill battle against a better team.  This victory doesn't sit well with me, Hardaways heroics cancel out all the stupid shit that we did and I feel like we got away with one.  And wtf happenned to our drebounding?  The last two games every single shot the other team missed within five feet is a kobe assist.

San Diego Mick

February 6th, 2013 at 4:54 AM ^

but i am concerned with how Nik & GRIII have played the last 2 games, especially down the stretch.

I know Nik hit some nice 3's but man, he was killing us towards the end of the game with his carelessness with the ball, several times. GRIII needs to play better in these big games, he seems to be pressing and forcing shots, he needs to mentally relax, play more aggressively on the boards and defense and let the game come to him more naturally.

I thought Coach B should've had a bigger line-up more often to help out the defense, we played too small and got away with it fortunately.

Finally, eff you Craft, you getaway with all kinds of BS and that should have been a flagrant at the end and boo hoo you didn't get a lucky call for once. These games are making our young team tougher IMHO, so there is that.

Blue in Yarmouth

February 6th, 2013 at 7:42 AM ^

except for the whole GRIII needing to be more patient and letting the game come to him. That's exactly what he has been doing the past two games and the game hasn't come to him at all. Even when he plays well, you rarely recognize that's he's out there unless he is thundering down a dunk.

I agree he hasn't had a big impact the past two games, but it doesn't have a lot to do with a lack of patients, more lack of opportunity.


February 6th, 2013 at 5:13 AM ^

Payback is a bitch Craft cheese u got away with a Flagrant foul and 3 pointer that shouldn't had count. Beilein need to start coaching defense or this team is going to lose in the tournament

Blue in Yarmouth

February 6th, 2013 at 7:46 AM ^

What punch? It was an open hand that was clearly going for the ball and ended up catching his face. The contact with the face was absolutely accidental. Honestly, some people's inability to evaluate something rationally when a rival team is involved is amazing to me.

To be clear, I'm not saying it wasn't a flagrant foul, but it was definitely not a punch or something anyone would have been ejected for. 


February 6th, 2013 at 8:48 AM ^

I'm increasingly thinking that going to the monitor for stuff like that is useless. Everyone -- the refs, the players, rational fans -- knew  what Craft was doing. He was trying to foul GRIII as quickly  as possible while going for the ball.

But when you go to the monitor, you've got to call what's there, don't you? You can't look at it and see an elbow to the head and a rake of the face and say, "Well, we know what he was doing and there wasn't intent there. We don't want to decide the game, so let it go." The reason it wasn't called a flagrant real time was that everyone knew it wasn't a flagrant, given the situation. If you're going to let the situation dictate the call, why go to the monitor in the first place?

And it's totally unclear to me why the monitors can be used to review 2/3 calls but not shot clock violations. 

STW P. Brabbs

February 6th, 2013 at 10:34 AM ^

Why is everyone talking about a slap? What I saw was a really hard elbow to the side of the head, which is far more dangerous. Seeing how Robinson's head jerked sideways on impact, I was surprised he wasn't knocked out. If fouls like that aren't flagrant - where the safety of the player is at issue - what's the fucking point of the rule?

Blue in Yarmouth

February 7th, 2013 at 8:24 AM ^

Again, I think it was a flagrant foul, absolutely. Especially after the refs took the time to review it. I'm with Needs here, if you watch that on replay it is definitely a flagrant foul and I can't believe they didn't call it.

Where I disagree completely is that the contact with the face/head was intentional. To me when I watched it, it looked like going for the ball with accidental contact with the head. Still a flagrant foul, just not intentional. The foul itself was intentional, just not the contact with his head IMHE. 


February 6th, 2013 at 7:41 AM ^

This is still a very young team, and it shows a times, especially on defense. As others have pointed out, playing with a point guard, 3 wings (two of whom are skinny freshmen), and a center does leave Michigan  vunerable on the defense to teams who have athletic, bigger forwards.

But, OSU and IU are definitely two of the top ten, probably top five teams in the country personnel-wise.  Don't forget that OSU played Duke down to the wire at Duke already this season.  Had that game been on a neutral court, OSU would have most likely won.

MSU is going to be a battle too, because they also have strong inside play.

Blue in Yarmouth

February 6th, 2013 at 7:53 AM ^

I'm not the most advanced basketball mind around by any means and last played competitively  in my high school days, but I wondered the rationale for this last night. I'm not all that familiar with what JB wants out of his offense, but the only thing that jumps out at me for the reason for the usual lineup is that he prefers the smaller players for his system. 

Having only gotten back into watching basketball the past two years, it seems that JB's offense is heavily dependent on 3's and last year I thought that was more out of necessity. Now it seems that it is what he prefers. 

With that in mind, knowing that none of our bigs have the ability to hit the three and spread out the defense in that manner, I was thinking the lack of a bigger lineup was due to the impact it would have on the way the offense is run. It's clearly a trade-off in terms of what it does to the defense and it appears that JB is willing to give up a bit on the defensive end of the court in order for his offense to function at its best.

I could be completely wrong about all of this though, that's just the only plausible explanation I could come up with.