COLUMBUS, Ohio — Deshaun Thomas had 20 points and scored the first and last baskets in a 16-0 first-half spurt and No. 15 Ohio State beat second-ranked Michigan 56-53 on Sunday, probably denying the Wolverines their first No. 1 ranking in more than 20 years.
After Trey Burke, who led the Wolverines (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) with 15 points, hit a 3-pointer to open the game, the Buckeyes took the lead for good although there were many nervous moments by the finish.
Burke had a shot to tie the game with 17 seconds left, but it rattled around and out.
The loss also prevented Michigan from setting a school mark for fastest start. The 1985-86 team had also opened with 16 wins.
Down 21 in the first half, Michigan kept chipping away. The Wolverines switched defenses, causing the Buckeyes problems with matchup zones.
With just over 11 minutes left, Burke had a chance to cut the lead to six points but Shannon Scott closed fast to block his breakaway layup. At the other end, Thomas made a 3 for an 11-point lead.
But the Wolverines kept applying the pressure.
Tim Hardaway, who had 12 points, scored on two slashes through the lane, Jordan Morgan hit a free throw and Hardaway then hustled back in transition to throw down an alley-oop pass from Burke. After a nice defensive play stopped Smith, Burke pulled up and hit a 15-footer. Hardaway then pumped in a long 3 from the top of the key behind a pick to narrow the gap to 44-43 as the clock ticked under 7 minutes.
Moments later, Glenn Robinson III was open for a 3 from the right wing to tie it at 46.
The Buckeyes regained some momentum when Shannon Scott fed post player Evan Ravenel for a dunk to regain the lead. On the next possession, Ohio State went inside again and Ravenel, averaging 6.3 points a game, bulled his way for another bucket.
After another Michigan missed shot, Thomas took a pass on the left baseline and made a quick spin to the endline before banking in a shot for a 52-46 lead.
The Wolverines missed six straight field-goal attempts in a row down the stretch, going scoreless for more than 4 minutes until Burke hit two free throws with 1:37 left to cut the lead to 52-48.
A steal and dunk by Robinson made it 52-50 with 1:16 left.
Thomas, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, missed an off-balance jumper from 15 feet with 50 seconds left. After a timeout to discuss strategy, the Wolverines worked the ball around before Burke’s shot with 17 seconds left. It rattled around and then ricocheted out, with Ohio State’s Smith rebounding. He was fouled, but the Buckeyes still weren’t in the bonus.