5 takeaways: Michigan basketball vs. Ohio State

Michigan basketball had lost two in a row at home to Ohio State, could the Wolverines break the streak and take down their primary rival? The Buckeyes haven’t exactly been doing well of late. After starting 10-3, OSU has lost eight of the last nine.

The Wolverines got out to a hot start, going up 12-6 before the Buckeyes cut into the lead getting it to just a one-point deficit. But it didn’t last. The maize and blue’s defense clamped down and the offense started going again, and Michigan extended the lead to 10.

But the Buckeyes wouldn’t go away, going from down 11 to down just 3 late in the first half. Ultimately, Michigan took a five-point lead into the half.

Michigan led off the second half with two from Hunter Dickinson to get the lead back to seven, but the Wolverines couldn’t capitalize on ensuing possessions and OSU cut the deficit to three. But the maize and blue’s defense stood strong, keeping the Buckeyes from scoring while going on a 6-0 run, to push the lead to nine.

The maize and blue pushed the lead to 11 — tying the highest margin in the game — before nursing a nine-point advantage for several minutes. Michigan pushed the lead to 13 after two made free throws by Terrance Williams coming out of the under-four media timeout. That was enough to put the game out of reach as the Wolverines won 77-69.

Michigan went wire-to-wire with the lead and were led by Hunter Dickinson with 26 points and 10 rebounds — a double-double. Here are our five takeaways.

Hot start sets the tone

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Michigan had started to assert itself in the early going, but after starting with back-to-back 3s, the shots weren’t falling with as much ease as they were at the outset. But, thanks to the defense, the Wolverines were able to weather the storm and keep the Buckeyes at arm’s length.

The Wolverines managed to keep just enough distance — as created in the early game — all game. Ohio State kept falling behind by about 11 before cutting the game to three, which it did multiple times, before the maize and blue would pull away again. No matter how well the Buckeyes would proverbially rebound, Michigan would answer.

It was a great start to the game for the maize and blue, followed by a great game overall.

Strong defensive effort

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As mentioned, even when the offense went through lulls, the defense showed up, keeping the Wolverines in the lead. For a long stretch, the Buckeyes were only getting on the board due to Michigan fouls, thanks to the maize and blue clogging up lanes and contesting shots. Even when OSU got open looks, it seemed unsettled, pushing an early field goal drought to four minutes.

Likewise, when the game got to a three-point margin midway through the second half, the Wolverines went on a 6-0 run in large part due to keeping OSU from scoring field goals for over five minutes.

Ultimately, Michigan held Ohio State to just 40.6% shooting and 31.3% from 3.

Need more from the bench

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Despite seeing multiple lineups rife with bench players, we didn’t see much production offensively from the reserves.

In the first half, the only bench player to score was Joey Baker when he hit a 3. Tarris Reed accumulated two fouls and attempted no shots, while Jace Howard — who was sparingly in — also attempted no shots.

In the second half, again, it was only Baker doing anything, with five more points added.

Welcome back, Jett Howard

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Howard exited the Purdue game a week and a half ago with a sprained ankle, and Michigan really needed him to make an impact in this game. It took a while, but once he got his first points, he started to assert himself. He hit two 3s in the first half and followed that up by simply making a couple key baskets in the second.

He wasn’t the leading scorer by any stretch — naturally, that honor went to Dickinson, followed by Kobe Bufkin — but Howard wasn’t trying to endure the load, instead falling more into a backup role (as a starter). And he made good on his limited opportunities.

Howard finished with 16 points, six of which came on 3s.

The give and take

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This could have been a much more astounding victory given the shooting disparity, as well as Michigan shooting better from 3, but Ohio State outrebounded the Wolverines, scored more off turnovers, while also turning the ball over slightly less.

Michigan certainly took advantage of some lineup situations, like going without Hunter Dickinson midway through the first half and likewise with Dickinson’s play in the second with Key on the bench.

It could have been a significant blowout had Michigan dominated the other stats other than shooting, but credit to OSU for battling out and keeping it a game.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire