Ohio State stuns MI with second-half rally


Down by 20 just before halftime Monday night, Ohio State stormed back and dominated MI in the second half on the way to a 71-62 victory.

Moritz Wagner had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Wolverines.

Keita Bates-Diop scored 18, C.J. Jackson 17 and Jae'Sean Tate 14 for Ohio State (7-3, 2-0), which has won four of the past five meetings between the teams.

"As good as we were in the first 18 minutes of the first half, we were just equally as bad in the second half", MI coach John Beilein said. "Coach (Chris Holtmann) was telling us all week that we've either got to get exhausted of losing or we're just going to get lessons taught to us over and over again". Somehow we did a lot again in what we did in the North Carolina game and the LSU game.

After the Wolverines took a 43-23 lead with 1:31 left in the first half, Ohio State went on a 26-3 run to go up 49-46 with 11:46 remaining in the second half.

"We couldn't score and we couldn't stop them", Beilein said. "We just did not play well in the second half". The Buckeyes shot a sizzling 66 percent from the field to put back-to-back losses to Butler (67-66) and Clemson (79-65) in the rearview mirror and they aim to stay hot from the floor by beating MI for the fourth time in the last five meetings. The Buckeyes took over after that.

MI would take a 60-56 lead before Tate and Williams both scored to level the game at 60 all with 3:34 to play.

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But the shooting spell eventually caught up with MI and it couldn't hold on. Bates-Diop hit a three and Michigan's Simpson fouled Kaleb Wesson, who converted both free throws.

Michigan's John Beilein has seen it all during his 39 years as a college coach. The crowd energy in the second half was exciting, he said. "I'm sure us getting down 20 had something to do with it". Those first four minutes are crucial. "It's a mistake that we shouldn't have made and we made it".

It was a completely different story in the first half for MI.

The Wolverines shot 56.7 percent and made seven 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.

Ohio State played its sixth game in 12 days.

The span started with nine straight points by the Wolverines on a Poole layup, Robinson 3-pointer, Wagner dunk and two Abdur-Rahkman free throws to make it 36-17 at the 4:05 mark. The Buckeyes (7-3, 2-0) were 11-for-12 over a 10-plus minute stretch during the run.

"We knew in the first half if we kept playing like that, we would have gotten run out of the gym", Williams said.