Stauskas leads No. 15 Michigan past No. 22 Ohio St
Everybody knows what Nik Stauskas has done this season.
But he had a lot of help from Michigan's freshmen in leading the way to yet another big road win.
Stauskas scored 15 points and freshmen Derrick Walton III and Zak Irvin each had a big game to power the 15th-ranked Wolverines to a 70-60 victory over No. 22 Ohio State on Tuesday night.
"Obviously, it was a hostile arena," senior forward Jordan Morgan said. "You've got to get comfortable with pressure that (the Buckeyes) are going to put on you. They're going to challenge you to make big plays and I think our freshmen stepped up and did it."
Walton scored 13 points, added a career-high 10 rebounds and was just one behind his previous best in assists with six.
Irvin came off the bench to give the Wolverines (18-6, 10-2 Big Ten) a lift. He scored 10 points, hitting both of his 3-pointers and adding a solid defensive effort.
Michigan coach John Beilein was pleased with just about everybody in blue, but had particular praise set aside for his first-year players.
"Walton had a great game, with 10 rebounds and controlling the tempo," he said.
Of Irvin, he added, "He's been a typical freshman in some ways, but the young man can make a shot."
The victory ended a nine-game skid over the last 11 years in Columbus for the Wolverines, who came into the game tied for the top spot in the conference with Michigan State.
"We love getting road wins. That's one of the hardest things to do in this conference," said Morgan, who had eight rebounds _ six on the offensive glass _ and contributed six points. "Any time you can get one of those it's big. Obviously, this game means a lot to a lot of people. For us to come into this environment and get this win is big."
LaQuinton Ross had 24 points and Lenzelle Smith Jr. 13 for Ohio State (19-6, 6-6), which had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Buckeyes hadn't lost to their archrivals on their home court since a 61-50 setback on Jan. 15, 2003.
The Wolverines were coming off an 85-67 loss at No. 17 Iowa on Saturday and had played three road games in 10 days and five games total over the last 13.
But they had more energy in the second half _ outscoring Ohio State 44-30 _ to pull out a game in which they trailed by 10 points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes led by eight early in the second half, but that cushion disappeared when Michigan scored on four straight possessions, including a dunk by Jon Horford off Walton's assist, a 3 by Irvin, Columbus native Caris LeVert's steal and end-to-end layup, and two foul shots by Stauskas.
That gave the Wolverines their first lead since their first basket at 44-43. The surge was part of a 12-0 run that turned the game around.
Stauskas picked up a basket on a goaltending call before Walton slashed through the lane and was fouled while spinning in a layup, completing the three-point play to make it 49-43 with 9:15 left.
"When it came down to it, they gave the ball to Walton down the stretch and let him make plays," said Buckeyes defensive whiz Aaron Craft.
Ohio State got as close as 51-50 before Morgan scored inside and then, on the next trip down the floor, kept the ball alive on an offensive rebound, leading to a 3 by Stauskas.
Shannon Scott's steal led to a dunk by Buckeyes teammate Sam Thompson, and Michigan was hanging on, 56-52, with 3:24 left. But LeVert drove the lane and flicked a pass to the right corner to Glenn Robinson III, who hit a 3 with 2:45 left to push the lead to 59-52.
"Robinson's 3 from the corner was huge," said Ohio State coach Thad Matta, who fell to 17-5 against Michigan.
After Craft airballed a 3 at the other end, Walton was fouled on a 3 with 1:54 left and calmly made all three to push the lead to 10.
The Buckeyes didn't threaten again.
"Today we weren't the tougher team down the stretch," Craft said.
It was the only regular-season meeting between the longtime rivals this season, due to the Big Ten's 18-game, rotating schedule.
That's OK with Beilein.
"It was like a Final Four game," he said of the atmosphere, which included a roaring crowd of 18,809. "It was loud. And it had two of the really good programs in the Big Ten going at it."
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