|Wolverines fizzle after strong start against OSU|
|Written by Matt Pargoff|
Michigan came out of the gate fast on Friday evening while playing host to rival Ohio State, jumping in front by 11 points in just the first six minutes of play. But on a night where the Wolverines were badly out-rebounded, that edge proved tough to hold, ultimately falling in the contest 70-66.
Forced to make their own comeback effort in the second half, the Wolverines had opportunities late, possessing the ball with 25 seconds left down by just two points. A final shot from Derrick Walton Jr., whose performance was a bright spot for the Maize and Blue, did not fall, handing the game to Buckeyes.
“Coach did a great job, drew up a great play, and the big guy kind of sagged off, so I took the shot,” Walton explained. “I’ve made that shot thousands of times, but I kind of left it short. The ball just didn’t go in.”
The Buckeyes claimed a 42-24 advantage in rebounding in the game, pulling down a staggering 16 from the offensive glass, including 10 in the first half.
“The good news was that we really made them miss more shots than we’ve been making people miss,” head coach John Beilein noted. “The bad news is they got so many of those back. Some of that happens and it’s not like a guy doesn’t box out, but because of your positioning in the defense, you just can’t get there.”
Committing an uncharacteristically high 22 fouls in the contest, Michigan struggled to keep Moritz Wagner and D.J. Wilson on the court, with Wagner fouling out of the contest at the end.
Walton led the way for the Wolverines with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 12 points and Wilson 11.
Michigan will play its third rivalry game in a row next, taking on Michigan State for the second time in a nine-day stretch. Having fallen 70-62 in East Lansing, the Wolverines will get their chance to play host on Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. eastern with television coverage provided by ESPN.
The loss to Ohio State dropped the Maize and Blue to 14-9 on the season and 4-6 in conference play. Check out post-game video of John Beilein, Derrick Walton Jr. and Ohio State’s Thad Matta below.