After losing five of six games, Ohio State got back on track with three straight wins, two of which came on the road against Wisconsin and Iowa.
Back at home against rival Michigan, the Buckeyes let a halftime lead get away, and couldn’t respond to a Wolverine run as their rival earned a 70-60 road victory on Tuesday night. While Michigan takes a half game lead atop the conference standings, Ohio State is all but eliminated from the Big Ten race.
The Buckeyes to an early 17-8 lead behind hot shooting from the start. After taking a 26-16 lead, Ohio State went the remaining 6:25 of the first half without a field goal, turning a double-digit lead into only a four-point advantage at half.
Midway through the second quarter, Michigan went on a 12-0 run to take the lead and ran with it in late stages of the game when Derrick Walton, who played a terrific game, hit three free throws after being fouled on a long 3-pointer to put Michigan up 10.
“Every night is a war,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matt added after the game. “What you see in this league is a bad three-minute or four-minute stretch can cost you.”
“We’re at our best when three or four guys are clicking,” Matta added. “This group has got to feed off of each other and make each other better.”
LaQuinton Ross led all scorers with 24 while Lenzelle Smith Jr. registered 13 points. But no one else on the Buckeyes had more than eight, to go along with only four bench points.
There’s no question that this team is talented defensively. But its offense has been the problem for Ohio State, even on nights where Ross goes over 20 points.
Despite being pretty much out of the Big Ten race, the Buckeyes have one more chance to secure a conference win over a ranked opponent on its home floor on the final game of the regular season against Michigan State.