INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jared Sullinger #0, Evan Ravenel #30 and Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate on the bench against the Michigan Wolverines during their Semifinal game of the 2012 Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Sophomore forward Jared Sullinger scored 24 points while another sophomore forward, Deshaun Thomas, added 22 points as third-seed and No. 7 Ohio State throttled No. 10 and second-seed Michigan, 77-55, in the semifinals of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Saturday afternoon.
But one player that shouldn’t be overlooked is sophomore point guard Aaron Craft. While he scored just six points with three rebounds and four assists, he did a tremendous job defensively on Michigan’s Trey Burke, who scored a mere five points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field and went 0-of-7 shooting from three-point range. Craft also forced Burke to turn the ball over eight times.
Of course, in the post-game press conference, Craft tried to deflect any of the attention directed his way after his dominating defensive effort.
“It was definitely a team effort tonight,” Craft said following the game. “And just trying to not make it about
me against him because that’s not what it’s about. And our bigs did a great job hedging ball screens today and everyone else did a good job of zoning up and not giving easy baskets for the most part.”
The Buckeyes scored 16 of the game’s first 19 points and never looked back. The closest the Wolverines would get was midway through the first half after a pair of free throws from Michigan’s Stu Douglass made the score 16-8.
Ohio State held a 34-21 advantage at halftime and led by as many as 28 on two separate occasions in the second stanza.
Defensively, the Buckeyes held the Wolverines to 30.9 percent (17-55) shooting from the field and 16.0 percent (4-25) from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Ohio State shot 49.2 percent (31-63) from the floor and connected on 5-of-14 (35.7%) from thee-point land.
Up next, No. 7 and second-seed Ohio State takes on No. 8 and top-seed Michigan State in the championship game of the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, Sunday afternoon. Tip-off at Bakers Life Fieldhouse is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and it will be televised on your local CBS affiliate.