Derrick Walton, Jr. grabbed eight of his game-high ten rebounds in the second half Tuesday night (Feb. 11), as No. 15 Michigan surprised No. 22 OSU, 70-60, at Value City Arena.
The win broke a two-game road slump for the Wolverines who were forced to battle back from a 10-point first half deficit.
Walton, the 6-1 Michigan point guard was a huge thorn in the Buckeyes psyche, outrebounding the likes of 6-11 Amir Williams and 6-8 LaQuinton Ross.
The Wolverines, who were beaten badly on the glass in recent losses at Indiana and No.7 Iowa, outworked Ohio State 39-27 on the glass. Michigan kept many possessions alive by grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
Jordan Morgan, who’s struggled at times this season, chipped in with eight rebounds himself.
But it was Walton who was the night’s MVP, adding 13 points and six assists, including a key three-pointer which gave Michigan a 56-50 lead inside the four minute mark.
The Wolverines overcame a slow start before chipping away at a 30-26 halftime deficit, finishing the night 18 of 22 from the line and eight of 17 behind the arc.
“I thought the atmosphere was tremendous today,” said a delighted Michigan coach John Beilein. ”Right from tip-off it was like we were playing in a Final Four game. It was loud and a terrific example of two really good programs playing Big Ten basketball. Once our guys settled down, we showed a lot of high character.”
Cold from way outside
The Buckeyes, now 19-6 and 6-6 in the Big Ten, didn’t help themselves by only hitting three of 20 behind the arc.
The main event was supposed to be Michigan leading scorer Nik Stauskas vs. All-Big Ten point guard Aaron Craft, who last year had quite a dual with Michigan’s Trey Burke in another Michigan win.
Craft had little offense
Stauskas had Craft chasing him all over the court, and while Craft and friends did well at holding Stauskas to 15 points, suffered on the offensive end, however, only scoring eight points with just two assists.
Zak Irvin had another good night coming off the bench with 10 points, Glenn Robinson overcame a sluggish start with nine as did Caris LeVert. Jon Horford made an impressive statement, scoring eight points and grabbing four rebounds.
Due to a pair of missed layups and some errant jump-shots, Ohio State used a 12-3 run to to build to build their 10-point lead. Ross had his way early, scoring 11 points in the first 10 minutes. His game-high 24 points wasn’t enough to keep Ohio State from losing its sixth game in their last 10 tries. It was also Michigan’s first win at Value Center Arena since 2003.
Next for Michigan (18-6, 10-2) is No. 21 Wisconsin (19-5, 6-5) at Crisler Center next Sunday (Feb. 16) while the Buckeyes meet Illinois (14-10, 3-8) in Champaign Saturday (Feb. 15). Tuesday’s win gave Michigan a half-game lead over Michigan State in the Big Ten Standings. ♦
Big Ten Standings
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer