No. 9 Michigan tops short-handed No. 25 Ohio State 90-71

Dec 30, 2021, 9:18 PM | Updated: Dec 31, 2021, 2:47 pm
Michigan forward Naz Hillmon (00) passes the ball as Ohio State guard Taylor Thierry, left, and, gu...

Michigan forward Naz Hillmon (00) passes the ball as Ohio State guard Taylor Thierry, left, and, guard Rikki Harris defend during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Naz Hillmon had 29 points and 15 rebounds, her 40th career double-double, leading No. 9 Michigan to a 90-71 win over short-handed No. 25 Ohio State on Friday.

Emily Kiser had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who had advantages of 50-36 on points in the paint and 48-27 on the boards. Leigha Brown added 24 points.

“We knew that we were going to have mismatches inside. … So both (Naz) and Emily had amazing days, they both were able to be aggressive, really able to rebound,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “And anytime they got going, then our guards got going from the outside. I think they just fed off each other.”

Michigan (12-1, 3-0 Big Ten) led wire-to-wire, pushing its lead to double digits with a 12-3 run to end the first half up 45-31. The Wolverines scored the first nine points of the second half to push the lead to 23. A 12-3 run helped Ohio St. (9-3, 1-2) cut the deficit to 67-53 heading to the fourth, before Michigan pulled away again.

“In the second half, it got away from us a little bit. It was almost like we were waiting for something good to happen. Then we made a couple of shots, and our energy level went sky-high,” Ohio St. coach Kevin McGuff said. “As I told them, ‘Hey, we have to impose our will on the game. We can’t wait for something good to happen to really get us going.'”

It was the Wolverines’ biggest margin of victory over Ohio St., topping a 15-point, 64-49 win on Jan. 5, 2014.

“I mean, it’s the greatest rivalry in college athletics, so we knew that it was going to be a game of runs and that they were great shooters,” Barnes Arico said. “And every time they did, we were able to weather the storm, which I think is real growth for our team.”

Several positive COVID-19 tests limited the bench for the Buckeyes, who were without senior starting guard Braxtin Miller for the first time this season.

Jacy Sheldon led the Buckeyes with 26 points, while Taylor Mikesell had 25.

BIG PICTURE

Ohio State: This was a rivalry the Buckeyes dominated for decades, compiling a 47-6 advantage through the 2009-10 season, but not as much anymore. Michigan has claimed nine wins in the last 19 games, including two straight. Both teams have entered the game ranked in the Top 25 in four of the last nine meetings, something that hadn’t happened before 2018. Before Friday’s blowout, the previous 11 games had been decided by a total of 71 points and all by single-digit margins.

Michigan: Coming off the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance last spring, the firsts haven’t stopped coming this winter. The Wolverines posted their first top-10 ranking (and their highest ranking at No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll) after a first win over a top-five opponent. Coach Kim Barnes Arico became the program’s first 200-win coach in November.

UP NEXT

Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ Monday game against Penn State was postponed, so they won’t return to the court until Thursday, when they host Illinois, a program they’ve beaten eight straight times.

Michigan: The Wolverines open the new year with a road date at Nebraska on Tuesday, taking on a Cornhuskers squad they’ve beaten in six of the last nine meetings.

___

More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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