The Ohio State-Michigan football game might have been anticlimactic this year, but when they met in Columbus for hoops on Tuesday night, the stakes were a little higher. Both teams are right in the middle of the pack when it comes to fighting for an NCAA bid. It was the Buckeyes who rang up an easy win at the expense of their slumping rivals.
Evan Turner led the way with 24 points, and Ohio State shot 56 percent from the floor. Michigan was unable to take care of the ball, turning it over 21 times. The only bright spot for John Beilein's team was the play of Manny Harris, who was a one-man show in scoring 22 points while grabbing 12 rebounds.
The win moves the Buckeyes back to .500 in league play at 4-4, while the Wolverines slipped to 4-5.
Around the league...
Purdue 64 Wisconsin 63
The Badgers faced the same circumstances as Ohio State. They needed a home win to get back to .500. Unlike OSU, they couldn't defend their home floor. They couldn't defend much of anything, as this team continues it's un-Bo Ryan like habit of allowing good shooting efforts and failing to win the battle of the free throw line. The Boilermakers shot 59 percent from the floor, an astonishing figure in light of who they were playing and the venue. E'Twaun Moore led the way with 17 points, and negated a big outing from UW's freshman forward Keaton Nankvil, who scored 21 on 5-of-5 from three-point range. The three interior players mentioned here in our discussion of conference of frontcourt talent earlier in the week--Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson for Purdue and Marcus Landry for Wisconsin--were all non-factors, scoring in single digits.
Michigan State 71 Iowa 56
Tom Izzo's crew maintained a one-game edge on the Boilermakers in the loss column with an easy victory in Iowa City. The rebounding edge was not its usual overwhelming self, as the Spartans only won the boards 32-27. But they dominated the backcourt, with Kalin Lucas scoring 24, while Durrell Summers added 21. It's the second straight 20-plus outing from Summers, who could be developing into the kind of potent weapon MSU needs to go deep into March.
Minnesota 59 Illinois 36
An ugly road performance from the Illini dropped them two games off the conference lead. The Gopher defense held Illinois to 29 percent shooting, and controlled the glass to a 40-26 edge. When you're missing shots and not rebounding them, that's about as basic a recipe as there is for only scoring 36. Lawrence Westbrook led all scorers with 15.
Player Of The Sequence: Manny Harris. I know, this is the third time I've picked the Wolverine guard, while no one else has been chosen more than once. He's really not my couisin or anything like that, but Harris is either all in or he's absent. In Columbus, he was all in, albeit the only UM player who seemed to make the trip.