Thomas has 20, OSU hands Michigan 1st loss, 56-53
By RUSTY MILLER
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) A ball that rattled around the rim and bounced out separated Michigan from its first No. 1 ranking in more than 20 years. Point guard Trey Burke's stepback jumper with 17 seconds went down, then came out, leaving No. 2 Michigan on the wrong side of a 56-53 loss to rival and 15th-ranked Ohio State on Sunday.
After No. 1 Duke lost to North Carolina State a day earlier, the Wolverines were in prime position to ascend to No. 1 for the first time since November 1992. Instead, they went home with their first loss, also depriving them of the best start in school history.
"Some go in and some don't," said Burke, a sophomore who just happens to be from Columbus and is friends with several of the Buckeyes. "I thought it was going in. It looked good. I think it went in and then came out."
Michigan (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) trailed 52-50 and had the ball as the seconds sifted away. Everyone in a hoarse, capacity crowd of 18,809 knew that Burke, a star at Columbus' Northland High School where he was a teammate of former Buckeye Jared Sullinger, would likely take the last shot.
Aaron Craft - whom Michigan coach John Beilein said was as good as any defender he had ever seen - prevented Burke from driving. His path blocked, Burke jumped back and then launched the shot.
"We were up two, so that makes it a little more challenging for me," said Craft, selected as the Big Ten's top defender a year ago. "Fortunately enough for me, that shot he took rimmed in and out. I kind of turned around (and saw) we grabbed the rebound."
Lenzelle Smith Jr. grabbed the rebound. A moment later he was fouled again and hit two free throws for breathing room. Craft, who had struggled on offense most of the season, then made two more foul shots to more than offset Burke's circus 3-pointer with a second left.
The Buckeyes had done most of their offensive damage early, following Burke's opening 3-pointer with a 16-0 run that was started and ended with baskets by Deshaun Thomas, who led the Buckeyes (13-3, 3-1) with 20 points. From there on, it was just a matter of whether Ohio State - which had blown a late lead at Duke in November - could hold off the Wolverines, who came in averaging 81 points a game with four starters in double figures.
Burke led Michigan, which was trying to exceed the 16-0 start of the 1985-86 team, with 15 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 12. Down 21 points in the first half, Michigan kept chipping away.
The Wolverines switched defenses, causing the Buckeyes problems with matchup zones. Eventually, Glenn Robinson III flipped in a 3-pointer from the right wing to tie it at 46 with just under 6 minutes left.
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 basket.
After another Michigan missed shot, Thomas took a pass on the left baseline and made a quick spin to the end line before banking in a shot for a 52-46 lead.
The Wolverines missed six straight field goal attempts 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, setting up the potential tying shot by Burke, who grew up a rabid fan of the Buckeyes but wasn't recruited by coach Thad Matta because he already had Craft and was close to signing Scott to play point.
"He got a heck of a look at it," Matta said of Burke's shot.
The Buckeyes have been at their best against their worst opponents, and vice versa. They came into the game 12-0 vs. unranked teams and 0-3 against those in the Top 25. But after what even the players called an up-and-down season, they came up especially big against their most heated opponent.
After Craft had discounted the possibility that the Buckeyes drew any extra incentive by wanting to prevent their archrivals from taking over the top spot in the polls, Ravenel spoke up.
"There's always satisfaction in denying Michigan the No. 1 spot in the country," he said with a wide grin.
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap
Updated January 13, 2013
The Boston Herald's Ron Borges joined the show to discuss his column in today's paper on Vince Wilfork. He thinks the Pats should keep Vince.
Boston Globe Patriots writer Ben Volin joined the show with the latest on the offseason. He said it is most likely that Julian Edelman returns next season due to his agent's relationship with the team.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports and ProFootballTalk.com joins the show to discuss the status of Aqib Talib and the exciting prospect of Darrelle Revis being traded by the Bucs to a CB-needy team.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN joins Mut and Lou to discuss the future of the struggling Celtics as well as the rocky relationship between Danny Ainge, Brad Stevens and Rajon Rondo
ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy joined Dennis & Callahan to talk about Rajon Rondo's birthday mishap.
Jackie MacMullan joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo's unexcused absence from the Celtics game in Sacramento and how the organization feels about Brad Stevens.
In 2013, Jackie Bradley Jr. used a non-roster invitation to big league spring training as a platform to an unexpected major league performance. Yet by and large, prospects in big league camp for the first time have more modest goals of creating familiarity -- both on their part with the big league setting, and in an effort to try to impress the big league coaching staff to position themselves for in-season call-ups. Red Sox prospects Garin Cecchini, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo and Bryce Brentz discuss their outlook on their first big league camps, while Bradley joins to explain the difference he feels this year in his second big league camp.
Red Sox NESN color man Jerry Remy joined Dennis & Callahan to discuss his first broadcast since his sons arrest last October.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ross joined WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk about this year's pitching staff and how spring training is going so far.
Andy Brickley of NESN joins the Mut and Merloni show to share his thoughts on what trade moves the Bruins might make, if any, as the trade deadline approaches.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed his 100th fight as a Boston Bruin last night. He added that he hopes the Bruins remain intact at today's NHL deadline.
We talked to NESN's Jack Edwards right after the NHL trade deadline expired.
The guys went through the mock drafts across the country. Johnny Manziel is all over the place and it looks like the Pats want a tight end.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed the bizarre ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court allowing upskirt photos.
The guys opened the show by discussing the Bruins trade deadline. The Habs got better the B's stood pat.
Mut and Lou are both dissapointed by the Bruins lackluster moves at the deadline. Meszaros and Harry Potter? Really?
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN Boston joins the program to discuss Rajon Rondo's rocky relationship with Danny Ainge, the future of the struggling Celtics, and the possibility of Vince Wilfork being cut by the Patriots
As the NHL trade deadline approaches, Mut and Lou discuss possible moves the Bruins may or may not make.
Holley wants him here no matter what, Salk isn't so sure. They debate it and involve you as well.
We talk Bruins and the NHL with the great Jack Edwards of NESN right after the NHL trade deadline passed.
We talk about athletes that gave up, who we'd like to give up, and more in the 4@4 Lent edition.
Mikey, Ryder and Lenny are joined by the legendary Leigh Montville, who talks all kinds of sports with the guys, from Red Sox to Muhammad Ali.
Mikey talks with the formerly bearded Jonny Gomes about the beard going out a champ. How it feels in spring training after a World Series Championship, David Ortiz' contract situation, and where the nickname Ironsides came from.
Mikey and Ryder talk with Steve Bullpett, who is one of the Celtics beat writers, about what, if any impact Rajon Rondo skipping a team trip to Sacramento without permission.
Salk and Holley debate it... Holley wants Revis, Salk doesn't want the Pats to change what's made them successful, and believes trading for Revis would do that. We debate it and involve you.More from this show