Despite freshman guard Bruce Thornton scoring a career-high 22 points, Ohio State couldn’t close the gap as Michigan ran away 77-69 Sunday at the Crisler Center.
Thornton and the Buckeyes (11-12, 3-9 Big Ten) began 5-of-10 from the field to start the second half, and freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh buried a 3-pointer to bring the game within three points with 14:04 remaining.
However, the Buckeyes fell cold and went without a field goal for more than five minutes midway through the second half, and Michigan (13-10, 7-5 Big Ten) took advantage.
Wolverines junior center Hunter Dickinson scored a game-high 26 points, including four down low during a Michigan 6-0 run to push Ohio State’s narrow 50-47 gap to 56-47 with 12:11 remaining.
Freshman guard Roddy Gayle Jr. sank a pair of free throws as the Buckeyes came as close as seven points with 11:34 left, but they couldn’t muster enough to overcome the spread.
Dickinson shot 10-of-15 from the field. He went fairly even in both halves, knocking down at least five shots in each and ultimately totaling 11 rebounds.
The Wolverines shot 49.1 percent from the field and, despite getting beat on the boards 36-34, muscled their way to 30 points in the paint compared to Ohio State’s 22.
Thornton reached double figures for the first time in seven games, shooting 10-of-13 and dropping in two buckets from beyond the 3-point arc.
Looking at a deficit as large as 11 points with 6:01 to go in the opening period, Ohio State rallied late in the first half, enduring a 1-of-9 dry run midway through.
Thornton scored five straight points to start an 8-0 run, including a floater that saw Michigan’s coaching staff assessed a technical foul with under five minutes left in the half.
The Buckeyes trailed 41-36 at the break, shooting 34.3 percent from the field compared to Michigan’s 51.6 percent clip.
Head coach Chris Holtmann also returned to the sideline after being ejected in the Buckeyes’ 65-60 loss Thursday against Wisconsin.
Sensabaugh fouled out in the final minute and finished with 14 points alongside nine rebounds, while redshirt senior forward Justice Sueing scored 14, his most since recording 13 at Illinois Jan. 24.
A two-game home stand is on deck for the Buckeyes, beginning Thursday against Northwestern. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. on FS1.
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