About the only thing better than seeing the Buckeyes beat Michigan is seeing the Buckeyes beat an undefeated Michigan and in the process keeping them from moving to the No. 1 spot in the polls. Going into this game I described the Ohio State men’s basketball team as roller coaster. Sunday’s game against Michigan only reinforced the metaphor as the Buckeyes nearly missed taking down the last undefeated team in the country.
After opening with an early 16 point run and building a 29-9 lead, the Buckeyes let Michigan back into the game bringing back memories of Duke in the process. Apparently though Aaron Craft wasn’t going to let that happen again. After putting up seven of the 16 points in the opening run and completely shutting down Trey Burke in the first half it was in the final moments of the game that Craft truly proved (again) his abilities as a defender.
In what was truly a head on head, you-and-me-in-a-cage matchup, Craft locked down Burke holding him to the final tics of the shot clock forcing the three point shot. Although it was a three point shot that seemed to take about 20 minutes to get to the net, somehow the ball stopped about half-way in, danced around the inside of the rim a few times and bounced back up and out of the net.
While Craft’s play is getting most of the attention this morning, Sam Thompson’s one-handed, alley-oop, slammer-jammer, downtown followed by another dunk on the next trip to turn the momentum was just another clip for the ever growing Thompson highlight reel.
No question the early second-half slump was about as frustrating as it comes, hopefully they will be able to keep up the intensity through an entire game come February when they take on Michigan and Indiana back to back.
The Buckeyes have the week off before traveling to Michigan State on Saturday.