Sunday, February 16, 2003

Michigan 70, Ohio State 54

Wolverines shut down Darby, sweep season series

The Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - What a difference a year makes.

Last year's late-season matchup between rivals Ohio State and Michigan ended with the Buckeyes celebrating a Big Ten title on the floor of Crisler Arena.

On Saturday, it was the Wolverines (15-9, 8-3) keeping alive their conference title hopes with a 70-54 win over Ohio State.

The Buckeyes (12-11, 5-7), whose only lead was at 2-0, lost both of their games with the Wolverines this season after winning the previous seven.

Michigan entered the game in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Wisconsin and Purdue.

"As we go down the stretch, every game is going to be a monumental game," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said.

Ohio State, which trailed by as many as 27 points, was unable to cut Michigan's lead to single digits in the second half.

"We had a hard time scoring, and they didn't," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "They hit some big 3-pointers, particularly from Daniel Horton."

The Buckeyes' loss kept O'Brien from picking up his 350th career victory. O'Brien (349-285) also has coached for St. Bonaventure and Boston College.

Daniel Horton scored 21 points, LaVell Blanchard added 19 and Lester Abram had 17 to lead the Wolverines, who won their 12th straight home game. The trio accounted for 62 percent of Michigan's offense coming into the game.

"All of us have the Big Ten race in the backs of our minds," said Blanchard, who also had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Velimir Radinovic led Ohio State with 19 points.

Horton, Blanchard and Abram accounted for all but six points in a 21-8 run to open the second half. Michigan led 57-32 with 11 minutes to play.

"We just had to stay put against their zone and wait for an opening," said Horton, who made 4-of-7 3-point attempts and added a game-high five assists. "I did what I could to extend the lead. When I had an open shot, I took it."

Ohio State senior guard Brent Darby, the Big Ten's second-leading scorer, was held to 12 points.

"A team effort is required to offset a great player, and that is what we got today," Amaker said. "You can't stop a great player with just one guy. I want to give credit to our entire team defense."

Darby averaged 18.4 points a game coming in.

"They put a bigger guy on me and really tried to keep me out of the lane," Darby said. "I didn't get any open shots today."

The first half was a defensive struggle for the first 15 minutes until Horton and the Wolverines found their scoring touch.

The freshman scored 11 points - including three 3-pointers - as Michigan ended the half on an 18-5 run to lead 38-24. Horton finished with 15 first-half points.

OHIO STATE (12-11) - Sylvester 1-7 0-0 2, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Radinovic 7-12 5-8 19, Darby 3-8 4-5 12, Connolly 2-9 2-2 8, Jernigan 0-3 1-2 1, Jenkins 3-7 0-2 6, Salley 1-1 2-2 4, Bass 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-50 14-21 54.

MICHIGAN (15-9) - Robinson Jr. 0-4 0-0 0, Blanchard 5-16 6-6 19, Brown 1-2 0-0 2, Horton 8-14 1-2 21, Abram 6-8 2-2 17, Hunter 1-2 0-0 2, Bailey 2-3 5-6 9, Groninger 0-3 0-0 0, Harrell 0-0 0-0 0, Dill 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 14-16 70.

Halftime-Michigan 38, Ohio State 24. 3-point goals-Ohio State 4-15 (Darby 2-5, Connolly 2-5, Jernigan 0-2, Sylvester 0-3), Michigan 10-20 (Horton 4-7, Abram 3-3, Blanchard 3-8, Groninger 0-1, Dill 0-1). Fouled out-Robinson. Rebounds-Ohio State 28 (Radinovic 8), Michigan 39 (Blanchard 10). Assists-Ohio State 11 (Darby, Jernigan 4), Michigan 11 (Horton 5). Total fouls-Ohio State 18, Michigan 19. A-13,183.

Michigan 70, Ohio State 54

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