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Buckeyes down Wolverines to move atop Big Ten

Jan 29, 2012 - 8:53 PM Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Lenzelle Smith, Jr. finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 4 Ohio State pulled away for a 64-49 victory against 20th-ranked Michigan.

The teams had been tied atop the conference standings, but the Buckeyes (19-3, 7-2 Big Ten) dominated the second half. They used a 14-2 run to turn a one- point edge into a double-digit gap midway through the period, and held on to the finish.

Jared Sullinger scored 13 points for Ohio State, which has won four in a row since losing at Illinois on January 10.

Tim Hardaway Jr. netted 15 points to pace the Wolverines (16-6, 6-3), who have lost six in a row against Ohio State.

Trey Burke added 13 points, including a three-pointer that capped a 7-0 burst and brought Michigan within 34-33 with just under 16 minutes remaining in the contest.

However, William Buford sank a jumper at the other end, igniting the key run. Turnovers on Michigan's next two possessions led to buckets by Smith and Buford, and Wolverine fouls led to free throws by Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas. Thomas' pair from the line closed the rally and gave OSU a 48-35 advantage with just under 11 minutes left.

The Buckeyes benefited from fouls the whole contest. They made 15-of-18 free throws, while Michigan was 3-for-4.

The Wolverines relied much more on long-distance shooting -- 25 of their 53 field goal attempts came from beyond the arc. But they made only eight of those tries, and the few-and-far-between makes didn't help them heading down the stretch.

For instance, Hardaway knocked down a three with nine minutes to go, bringing Michigan within 50-41. Ohio State didn't score on its next six possessions, but the Wolverines couldn't capitalize. Hardaway missed a pair of three- pointers during that stretch, while Colton Christian couldn't sink a pair of layups.

Michigan's inability to hit shots was compounded by Ohio State's rebounding dominance. The Buckeyes held a 37-22 advantage and didn't give the Wolverines many second chances.

Even when Michigan did get offensive rebounds, it struggled to score. After Jordan Morgan got a layup to fall with 5:44 to play, the Wolverines were within 50-43 and had an opportunity to cut into their deficit some more because of a turnover by Sullinger.

But Stu Douglass missed a three and Morgan turned the ball over after grabbing the offensive rebound. Thomas sank a layup at the other end.

Burke then missed a jumper, but Morgan and Zack Novak missed layups after getting consecutive offensive boards. Sullinger blocked Novak's try, then raced to the Buckeyes' end of the floor for a dunk, which pushed the lead to 54-43.

Burke -- Sullinger's high school teammate -- answered with a three, but the Wolverines didn't make another field goal and couldn't make up the deficit.

A similar dry spell hurt Michigan at the end of the first half. Blake McLimans' shot from three-point range gave the Wolverines a 19-15 edge with a little more than five minutes to play, but they made just one more shot. As a result, Ohio State came back and carried a 24-21 lead into the break after Buford hit a three-pointer.

Game Notes

Michigan made 35.8 percent of its shots...Thomas and Buford both scored 12 for OSU...Ohio State owns a 91-71 lead in the all-time series, and has won eight in a row in Columbus.