COLUMBUS, Ohio — DeVante’ Jones scored 21 points and Michigan rallied in the second half, wrapping up their Big Ten regular season by beating No. 23 Ohio State 75-69 on Sunday.
Substitute coach Phil Martelli guided the Wolverines (17-13, 11-9) as coach Juwan Howard completed his five-game suspension for hitting a Wisconsin assistant in a handshake line after -match.
“I’m just in awe of the character of the players,” said Martelli, who went 3-2 in place of Howard. “I am impressed with the knowledge of the support staff. What we wanted to try to be was balanced.
Howard is expected to return to the sidelines when the Big Ten conference tournament begins this week.
“We’ll have the same energy,” Jones said. “He’s going to bring that juice and we’re going to match his intensity.”
EJ Liddell recorded his eighth double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Ohio State (19-10, 12-8).
The seeds for the conference tournament are yet to be determined.
Trailing by nine points in the first half and seven points at the break, Wolverines led a 14-1 run midway through the second to take a 56-44 lead with 10:18 to play.
The Buckeyes shot within four runs with 11 seconds left, but Terrance Williams II made a pair of free throws to seal it.
“We didn’t handle the ball well at all,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “We got sloppy with it. We were gentle on the ball.
Williams added 17 points for Wolverines while Eli Brooks and Moussa Diabate scored 14 each.
Malaki Branham led Ohio State with 18 points and Justin Ahrens had 12, including four 3-pointers.
Wolverines 7-foot-1 center Hunter Dickinson missed Sunday’s game with a stomach ailment.
“He didn’t feel strong enough,” Martelli said.
DIABATE INCREASES IN POWER
Without their starting center and leading scorer in Dickinson, the Wolverines needed a presence in the paint.
They turned to Diabate, who is 6ft 11in, to fill that void. He finished 7 of 11 from the field and tied his seven rebounds for the team high in addition to one block and one steal.
“I believe that when we play as a team, it doesn’t matter who we miss,” Diabaté said. “We will definitely give any team we face a challenge.”
Michigan set a new season high with 11 interceptions. He also held a 35-34 rebounding advantage with 13 boards on the offensive glass.
The Wolverines forced 13 turnovers on which they scored 12 points. They had seven second chance points.
“We knew they had bigger players,” Jones said, adding that those players were “a bit slower.”
“It was easy for us,” he said. “It wasn’t really hard to figure it out. We knew they played the last game, we had a few lay-ups, attacking downhill, so it was the same mindset.”
HOT RED JONES
Jones scored at least 21 points for the second time in four games and shot 56.8% in that span.
Against the Buckeyes, Jones put down a game-high nine field goals, finishing 9 of 16, while contributing nine assists and two steals.
“I just wanted to get the win. That was the main thing for me,” Jones said. “We had a great team victory. We had a balanced attack, so I can’t take all the credit.
Ohio State honored seven players before the game.
Liddell, Ahrens, Joey Brunk, Cedric Russell, Jimmy Sotos, Jamari Wheeler and Kyle Young have all been recognized.
Michigan: The Wolverines offense has taken a hit in Dickinson’s absence, shooting 41% after hitting at least 50% the past three games.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have lost their fourth game to unranked teams in their last seven outings. Opponents have shot 42.2% or better in six of those games.
“We need rest. We have to get healthy, but we have to play better and we have to defend better,” said Holtmann. “Health is definitely a factor.”
The Big Ten tournament begins on Wednesday.