(Photo courtesy Detroit Free Press)
The Ohio State University, in Ann Arbor on February 4th, took on TTUN and struggled through 40 minutes — on display were two rivals vying to turn their seasons around, who on this night missed far more shots than they made.
In the end, this physical spar literally came down to a torn jersey and some clutch free throws.
Kyle Young made two free throws with 33.3 seconds remaining which gave the Buckeyes the lead after a crucial replay review, and the Buckeyes held on for a 61-58 victory over the Wolverines on Tuesday night.
The game turned after officials went to the monitor with just over a half-minute left. Ohio State was ahead 57-56 when Michigan’s Zavier Simpson drove to the basket and drew a foul on Young. The Ohio State forward’s jersey was ripped, and a replay showed Simpson had grabbed the jersey while falling to the floor at the end of the play.
“That was crazy,” Young said. “I’ve never had my jersey ripped before.”
The foul on Young stood, but officials added a flagrant foul on Simpson as well. That meant each player shot two free throws. Simpson made his, and then Young made his. So the Buckeyes ended up with a one-point lead and the ball.
“I asked (the official), I said, ‘If he’s going up, and he’s falling. Did he grab him to brace his fall?’ And he said yes,” TTUN coach Juwan Howard said. “At the end of the day, we have to respect the call that was made.”
TTUN (13-8 4-6 Big Ten) had to foul, and CJ Walker made two free throws to put Ohio State (15-7, 5-6) up by three. Eli Brooks missed a 3-point attempt on the other end.
TTUN has lost six of its last nine. Ohio State has won three in a row after dropping six of seven.
TTUN started the game 3 of 17 from the field and shot 33% on the night.
The Buckeyes: Kaleb Wesson had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Buckeyes and was the only player on either team scoring consistently for much of the game. Ohio State led 28-27 at halftime, and Wesson had 15 points. He made three 3-pointers in the half.
“I’m OK if he scores all the points … as long as we have the lead,” Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said. “You want balance, you want other guys involved, but sometimes in games, you go into it trying to attack a certain way.”
TTUN: The Wolverines were again without injured forward Isaiah Livers, who has missed nine of the team’s last 10 games. TTUN was coming off a good win over Rutgers, but this was a tough setback in a game the Wolverines easily could have won.
WHAT’S IN THE STARS:
Both teams were in the top five earlier this season but have struggled in league play. Ohio State was close to the Top 25 in the last poll and may be able to move back in soon.
The Buckeyes are on the road again at Wisconsin on Sunday.