Columbus, OH – Deshaun Thomas carried 15th-ranked Ohio State with 20 points and the Buckeyes knocked off Division I's last remaining unbeaten with a 56-53 triumph over the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines on Sunday at Value City Arena.
Although they allowed the opposition to tie the game after falling behind by as many as 21 points, the Buckeyes (13-3, 3-1 Big Ten) never surrendered the advantage and sent Michigan (16-1, 3-1) to its first loss of the season.
Aaron Craft and Sam Thompson each poured in nine points, while Lenzelle Smith Jr. totaled four points and 10 rebounds in Ohio State's second straight win following a loss to Illinois.
"I hope we get confidence from this victory moving forward," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. "This game signifies the halfway point of the season, but we've still got a lot of games left and we have to continue to improve."
Trey Burke led Michigan with 15 points, but missed a potential go-ahead 3- pointer late in the contest. Tim Hardaway Jr. followed with 12 points on 5- of-15 shooting in the setback for the Wolverines, who shot just 38.3 percent as a team for the game.
"We were ready," said Burke on his team's preparation to play the Buckeyes. "It's a long game. We just had too many turnovers and missed shots."
Coming in, Michigan was trying to match the school's 1985-86 squad for best start in school history, but began the contest completely flat.
The Wolverines fell behind 29-8 after committing eight turnovers while making just three shots in the first 13 minutes of the game. They finished the half strong and carried the momentum out of the locker room to eventually tie the game, but their comeback attempt ultimately fell short.
Following a 14-5 run to close out the first half, the Wolverines were within 34-22 to start the second stanza and cut their deficit to single-digits on a Mitch McGary putback layup less than five minutes into the period.
Thomas buried a 3-pointer and flushed down a dunk around a Hardaway Jr. layup to keep the Buckeyes up by 11, but the Wolverines stormed back to tie the game with a 13-2 push.
After Hardaway Jr. swished a triple, Ohio State finally got back on the board off Shannon Scott's alley-oop pass to Thompson, but Glenn Robinson III answered at the other end with 3-pointer to knot the contest at 46-46 with 5:58 to go.
Ohio State never relinquished the lead, however, as Evan Ravenel scored consecutive baskets before Thomas finished a layup to bring the Buckeyes' edge to 52-46.
Steals by Burke and Robinson led to four points to make it a two-point game and Michigan had a chance to tie it up late after Thomas missed a jumper with under a minute remaining.
The Wolverines called timeout, but Burke's deep 3-point attempt rimmed out and into the hands of Smith Jr, who sank a pair from the line before Craft put the game on ice with two free throws in the final seconds.
Ohio State shot 51.9 percent in the first half, but shot just 34.8 percent over the final 20 minutes ... The Buckeyes captured their 10th win in their last 11 contests at home ... Ohio State converted 13 Michigan turnovers into 18 points ... Michigan fell to 73-99 all-time against Ohio State.