Despite Duane Washington's career night, No. 4 Ohio State falls to No. 3 Michigan

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Michigan guard Chaundee Brown is guarded by Ohio State forwards Justin Ahrens and Zed Key on Sunday at Value City Arena.

Ambling onto the court for pregame warmups, Duane Washington Jr. spotted a courtside microphone bearing the CBS logo. The eyes of the nation would be on the afternoon showdown between No. 4 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan, and the junior guard gave the microphone a little test.

Towering over it, Washington flexed his muscles and yelled at full volume, his voice carrying through a mostly empty Value City Arena. The microphone knew he was there, and soon the rest of the world would, too.

The native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, put up a career-high 30 points, but No. 4 Ohio State (18-5, 12-5 Big Ten) succumbed late and fell 92-87 to No. 3 Michigan (16-1, 11-1) in a game that lived up to the billing as the lone scheduled contest between the two.

"We’ll definitely see them again," Washington said. "We know what we’re capable of and what our plan is to do here. Everybody wishes we could get this one back."

Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr. celebrates after scoring against Michigan, part of a career-best 30-point effort.

A tight game throughout, Michigan moved ahead with 5:45 to play on a possession that featured a half-dozen shots and ended with a Chaunee Brown bucket that gave the Wolverines a 71-69 lead. Ohio State would keep it close, but Michigan would not trail for the remainder and would lead by as many as nine points.

"It certainly was an important moment," Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. "I don’t ever look at it as a turning point, but it was an important moment where we can’t beat good teams and allow that number of shots on goal. We’ve got to do better at coaching and playing that."

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The game marked only the fifth top-five matchup played in Columbus and the first involving the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Ohio State had won six straight top-10 games against all opponents and 13 of 14 at home against Michigan.

"We didn’t adjust and we should’ve adjusted more and focused on the defensive end more," forward E.J. Liddell said. "They just scored more points than us tonight."

The game had all the physicality and animosity that comes with the rivalry. Michigan coach Juwan Howard and Holtmann exchanged some midcourt words during a timeout. Washington was poked in the eye. Bodies flew everywhere. 

A late turnover helped seal it. Down 77-74 with the ball, Ohio State's Justice Sueing attempted a behind-the-back pass to a teammate at the three-point line along the left wing. The problem was, nobody was looking for it, and Michigan's Isaiah Livers pounced.

He nabbed the ball, beat everyone upcourt and scored as Sueing fouled him at the rim. The three-point play with 2:33 left made it an 80-74 Michigan lead, and it was too much for the Buckeyes.

Washington's 30 points came on 12-of-18 shooting. Liddell added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and CJ Walker had 15 points. The other seven Buckeyes to see action combined for only 19 points.

Hunter Dickinson led Michigan with 22 points.

When Eli Brooks executed an end-of-half play with a layup at the buzzer to give Michigan a 45-43 halftime lead, it capped an opening 20 minutes full of haymakers, physical play and three-pointers galore.

The final one of the half came from Franz Wagner, who buried one from the left wing to answer a Liddell three on the prior possession, and tied the game at 43. As he hit the bottom of the net, Ohio State’s Walker, who was desperately trying to contest the shot, visibly sighed.

Wagner’s three made Michigan, which entered the game second in Big Ten play in three-point shooting at 39.2%, 10 for 13 (76.9%) through the first 20 minutes, becoming the fifth team to hit double-digit threes against the Buckeyes this season. Despite the presence of six-time Big Ten freshman of the week Dickinson and his 7-foot-1 frame, Ohio State limited Michigan to 7 for 17 shooting inside the arc.

The Wolverines would regress to the mean in the second half and go just 1 for 10 from three-point range.