Ohio State delivers 84-61 thumping of Michigan on Senior Day


COLUMBUS — With its NCAA Tournament hopes still on life support, Ohio State handled its business on Sunday in a must-win game with an 84-61 dismantling of the lowly Michigan Wolverines in Value City Arena.

Bruce Thornton led Ohio State with 17 points, including a perfect 10-10 effort from the free throw line, and Roddy Gayle Jr. added 15 points.

Dug McDaniel’s 19 points led Michigan, which dropped to 8-22 overall and 3-16 in Big Ten play with the loss. Turnovers proved costly to the Wolverines all afternoon as they gave the ball away 18 times, leading directly to 27 points for Ohio State and contributing heavily to the Buckeyes’ season-high 22 fast-break points.

Ohio State attempted just 12 threes on the day, connecting on five, but didn’t need them as it outscored Michigan 40-20 in the paint.

With Ohio State’s four seniors being honored ahead of their final home games, interim head coach Jake Diebler elected to insert senior Zed Key into the startling lineup along with Owen Spencer. Key got Ohio State off to a quick start, scoring the game’s first four points to give the Buckeyes the early lead.

Key’s personal 4-0 run began with a thunderous one-handed dunk over Will Tschetter, sending a charge through the near-capacity crowd inside the Schottenstein Center and energizing his bench.

The slim advantage ballooned to 10-2 following a 6-0 run over the next few minutes before Michigan finally settled into the game. A five-point spurt by McDaniel cut the Ohio State lead to 10-7, and a pair of free throws from Terrance Williams II brought Michigan to within a point as the game neared the midway point of the first half.

Ohio State quickly answered the Michigan run with another of its own. Baskets by Key and Devin Royal pushed the lead back to 14-9, and Dale Bonner capped the 7-0 run with a three-pointer to again give the Buckeyes an eight-point lead.

The lead remained around six points for the remainder of the half as seven turnovers and a 1-6 effort three prevented Ohio State from building on its 32-27 halftime lead.

Key and Thornton finished the half with eight points each to lead Ohio State, while McDaniel paced Michigan with nine.

The two teams combined to go just 3-11 from three-point range while totaling 16 turnovers.

Ohio State delivered a staggering punch to begin the second half, opening with a 10-0 run to turn its five-point lead into a 42-27 advantage just over three minutes into the final period.

With Ohio State threatening to land an early knockout blow, Michigan responded with a crucial 7-0 run to climb back within single digits at 42-34. McDaniel’s jumper started the run, and Williams’ three extended the run as Michigan began to show life.

Michigan got as close as seven points when Tarris Reed Jr.’s layup cut the Ohio State lead to 54-47 at the 10-minute mark of the second half, but that’s as close as Michigan would get as Ohio State was finally able to pull away.

Thornton’s three on the next possession immediately pushed the Buckeyes’ lead back to double digits, and Gayle added a three-point play to increase the lead to 60-47.

Michigan never threatened again as the Ohio State lead grew to as many as 29 over the final minutes while coach coaches elected to empty their benches.

Ohio State will conclude its regular season on Sunday when it travels to take on Rutgers (15-13, 7-10). Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Big Ten Network.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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