Wolverines drop big lead to fall in Columbus
Written by Matt Pargoff   


The Wolverines stormed out of the gate fast at Ohio State on Monday evening, dominating most of the first half and building up a 20-point advantage. In the end though, it was the Buckeyes that walked away with the early conference victory, defeating Michigan 71-62.

After shooting 56.7% from the field in the first half, the Wolverines’ offense went ice cold, converting on just 17.2% of their second half attempts.

That swing in momentum though started late in the first half, when Jaaron Simmons was called for an off the ball foul during a three-point attempt that was good. The resulting five-point play was followed by a missed shot by Michigan and dazzling dunk by Jae'Sean Tate on the other end, giving Ohio State final seven points of the half.

The break in play wasn’t enough to chill the momentum swing as the Buckeyes continued on to a 26-3 run over the course of 10 total minutes of play.

The comeback onslaught finally stabilized midway through the half, and the teams entered the last three and a half minutes tied. In that final run though, the Wolverines’ cold second half shooting reappeared, making just one shot – a dunk – to close out the game.

“We couldn’t score and we couldn’t stop them,” John Beilein said after the game. “This is something that is going to be a journey all year for us until we grow our young kids and our veterans embrace their new roles as being the guys. Being a guy that’s got to make a shot, make a play at a certain time.”

After assisting on 11 baskets and turning the ball over just twice in the first half, Michigan assisted on only two scores after the break, turning it over six times.

Moritz Wagner accounted for three of those giveaways, while also leading the team with 14 points and nine rebounds. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson each scored 11 points, but managed to put only six between them in the second half.

Having played seven games over a 15-day stretch, the Wolverines will finally get a chance to rest up a little, turning practice focus to development instead of game prep over next few days. Michigan drops to 7-3 on the season, and will return to action Saturday at noon, playing host to UCLA.

The Wolverines fell by 18 points to the Bruins in Los Angeles last year after a back-and-forth first half that saw both squads reach 50 points. UCLA currently sits at 7-1 despite significant off-court distractions during the offseason, which saw three players arrested for shoplifting in China. The controversy has followed the team into the regular season, with indefinitely suspended guard LiAngelo Ball announcing his withdrawal from the program through his father on Monday.


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