Sunday afternoon in front of a packed house at Crisler Arena, Michigan (7-6, 1-1) knocked off the 15th ranked Buckeyes (10-2, 0-2) 73-64. “You look at Michigan your fear is that Harris and Sims get going and that’s exactly what they did tonight” said Ohio State coach Thad Matta. “Both are terrific basketball players.”
Matta’s fears were realized as DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris shook off a lackluster performance at Indiana and played their best ball of the season, combing to score 52 points on 22 of 34 shooting. “Personally, I don’t think I was playing aggressive in the last couple of games” said Harris. “I was trying to make plays, but it still wasn’t as aggressive as I should be. I came out and tried to be aggressive and let the team feed off that.”
Harris was dominant as he stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. He also made one of the plays of the game when Michigan needed it most. Michigan had opened up an 8 point lead at 52-44 only to see Ohio State storm back and tie the game 52-52. The two teams exchanged blows and Michigan was clinging to a 56-55 lead. Enter Manny, who took the ball into the lane and weaved his way through Ohio State defenders. He was fouled and threw up a shot. “He shot the ball from the ground basically” said Zack Novak. “That’s what Manny Harris does. He is fun to play with, sometimes you have to step back and watch what he does, and it’s amazing sometimes.” Manny hit the circus shot and converted the three-point play with a free throw. “He’s [Manny] the only guy that we got that can really go through a jungle like that” said John Beielin. “Go through all those trees and the swamps and everything and just put something in there. He did a great job with just finding his way to the basket and then finishing.”
Harris received plenty of help from a dialed in DeShawn Sims, who shredded the Buckeyes in the paint shooting 13-18 from the field for a game high 28 points and 9 rebounds.
Despite the fact that the students are still on break, Michigan fans packed Crisler Arena and almost blew the roof off the building a couple of times in the second half. “The crowd definitely got us going” said Manny Harris. “They have our back, they’ve been having our back since I’ve been here so that’s real big for us.”
Zack Novak summed it up best when he said, “Anytime you beat Ohio State at Michigan [it's a good thing], especially after last year [BJ] Mullens said they were going to beat us 4 years in a row. It just feels good to get that win, especially after last year losing to them twice.”
- Darius Morris celebrated his birthday in fine fashion with the victory. After the game I asked him if this was the birthday present he wanted. “Yea, to beat Ohio State” said Morris. “I didn’t care how it happened, what happened, as long as we beat Ohio State.”
- In my game preview, I had picked Michigan to win 74-67. The final score was 73-64.
- Michigan only attempted 16 three-pointers in the game and connected on 6 of them. “We took 16 quality shots, we took two bad ones in the first half” said Beilein. “Quality threes we need to do that, we need to continue to work on what is a good shot, what is our good shot.”
- Michigan shot 56% from the field, including 65% in the second half. They held Ohio State to 37%. John Beilein said, “The obvious thing would be our defense today holding them to those percentages.”
- With five assists against the Buckeyes, Manny Harris became just the 12th Wolverine to eclipse the 300-assist plateau. Harris now has 304 career assists. It was the 24th time Harris has had five-or-more assists in a game in his career.