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Ball bounces Ohio's way to force OT, but Michigan prevails

Wilson's season-high 21 points not enough in 70-66 loss

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Ohio got a fortunate bounce to help force overtime, but it could not quite recreate the magic of its NCAA Tournament victory more than 10 years ago in a 70-66 loss to No. 20 Michigan on Sunday night at the Crisler Center.

With a six-point lead with four minutes to go, the Bobcats (1-3) looked like they might top the Wolverines (4-1) again after defeating them in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Michigan, though, scored eight straight points, taking the lead on two Kobe Bufkin free throws with 2.1 seconds left.

After a timeout, Ohio’s full-court pass was off the rim and right to Ben Rederick, who missed a short shot. Dwight Wilson rebounded and beat the buzzer with a putback to tie the score at 63. Overtime, however, belonged to Michigan.

Ohio’s late second-half offensive struggles continued into overtime. Hunter Dickinson knocked down a jumper before a 3-pointer by Jett Howard made it a five-point game.

Finally, with 1:09 left, Wilson converted a three-point play to get the Bobcats back in it, but those were the only points they managed in overtime. DeVon Baker missed a pullup jumper, and after a Wilson offensive rebound, AJ Clayton’s 3-pointer was blocked.

Jaelin Llewellyn split two free throws with 21 seconds left, leaving Ohio still a chance down by three. A foul away from the ball sent Ben Roderick to the foul line with five seconds left, but he missed on the front end of a one-and-one, and Terrance Williams put the game away by making the first of two free throws with seconds to go.

"We're really proud of our guys," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "Coming off the loss of Detroit, they came back and had a couple of really good days of practice. They responded, came out and competed from the start and I thought we deserved the win. But give Michigan credit, they made the plays in the first half and overtime to win it. But our guys battled and controlled most of the game. And we just came up short."

The Bobcats led the majority of regulation, including 57-50 on two Gabe Wiznitzer free throws with 7:48 to go, and after the Wolverines cut their deficit to two, Wilson scored back-to-back baskets to go back in front 61-55.

Llewellyn hit a free throw and then Howard a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game again, both of them on second-chance opportunities. Bufkin’s driving layup with 1:09 to go tied the game.

For the second time in the final 2:20, Ohio had a shot clock violation when it ran the clock down, had the ball knocked away and then could not get off a shot.

Michigan returned the favor with a turnover of its own. Miles Brown picked off a Bufkin pass with seven seconds left, and the Bobcats pushed quickly up the court. Jaylin Hunter missed a 3-pointer, Bufkin rebounded, and Baker fouled, leading to go-ahead free throws with 2.1 seconds left.

An 8-1 run early in the first half gave Ohio a 13-6 lead, and the Bobcats led most of the way, though Michigan made its own run late in the first half to take a lead. Dickinson connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Wolverines ahead 33-31.

Michigan went up 41-35 on a Llewellyn 3-pointer at the 16:11 mark in the second half, but led by Wilson, Ohio regained control. A Roderick 3-pointer with 12:48 to go put the Bobcats ahead 47-45, and after a Dickinson dunk, Wilson scored back-to-back baskets. An Aidan Hadaway layup made it a six-point game, and the lead grew to seven on a Wiznitzer basket and then back to seven on Wiznitzer free throws.

Wilson scored a season-high 21 points with nine rebounds, while Hunter scored 14 points with six rebounds and five assists. Miles Brown scored 11 points and added nine rebounds. Baker, Ohio’s leading scorer through the first three games, struggled to just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

Dickinson had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Wolverines. Howard scored 13 points with four assists and four blocks, and Llewellyn scored 10 points. Bufkin had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Neither team shot well in the game. Michigan finished at 38.1% and Ohio at 35.1%. Free throws were a big difference as the Wolverines went 12 of 20, while the Bobcats were 5 of 11. Ohio had 19 offensive rebounds and committed only eight turnovers to make up much of the difference.

Ohio hosts Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. Friday at The Convo.

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