Michigan pulled out a big overtime win over rival Ohio State Tuesday night, by a score of 76-74. It was a wild night at Crisler Center, but at the end the Wolverines were better in overtime and evened the season series at one with the Buckeyes.
This was a game filled with a lot of great basketball, but more bad basketball.
The great play was for the most part done by Aaron Craft of Ohio State and Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan. Craft thoroughly dominated Trey Burke defensively. His terrific on ball defense completely paralyzed Michigan’s offense for entire possessions. Burke fell in to playing “Hero Ball” too often, trying to go one-on-one with Craft. If Craft has shown one thing in his career it is that you are not going to beat him on the perimeter, even if you are Burke. Burke played poorly, mostly because of Craft’s great defense, but also because he refused to alter his offensive attack.
Hardaway was en fuego Tuesday night. He finished with 21 points, with 5 three pointers. During a stretch in the second half Hardaway hit four three pointers in a row, absolutely lighting up Crisler. He was the only thing that was good about Michigan’s offense, keeping them in the game by bailing them out with threes, despite the stagnant offense.
Now, on to the bad. As I touched upon, Burke did not play relatively well, though he did end up with 16 points and 8 assists. I guess, to be fair, a bad Burke game is a pretty decent game for amy other point guard. But, despite the stats, anyone who watched the game saw Burke forcing things and making some really dumb decisions down the stretch.
Michigan’s interior defense without Jordan Morgan has been mediocre the last few games. Tuesday, it was simply atrocious. Mitch McGary played adequately on really well on the offensive end but just adequately on defense. The real problem was Jon Horford. He played soft and passively in the paint, allowing Ohio State players to bully him in the paint. LaQuinton Ross of Ohio State, had 5 offensive rebounds just by himself. In Ohio State’s final three possessions of regulation, they had two offensive rebounds and a steal (giveaway), all leading to second chances and points.
Really, this game should not have been as close as it was. Michigan did not play particularly well at all, but still should have won by at least two possessions in regulation. Just from bad calls by the refs, Ohio State got three points on the Craft buzzer-beater that did not beat the shot clock buzzer, and two points from free throws by Deshaun Thomas on a horrific foul call on Burke. Considering the fatc that this was a home game for Michigan, the refs gave them absolutely no help in this one.
Michigan did not play well, but won a sloppy game, thanks to their three point shooting, specifically Hardaway. Ohio State ended up having chances to win the game, but just did not have enough offense. Michigan seemed like they were trying to give the game away at times with their dumb decisions.
Whether it was Nik Stauskas giving a perfect assist to Thomas for the game tying three or Burke with one of the worst final possessions possible to end regulation Michigan did not play smart basketball. It was a sloppy game, but a fun game between two top ten teams. At the end of the day, Michigan just had more talent and made just enough plays to push them over the top in a game that Ohio State had several chances to steal.