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Late surge propels Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball team past No. 19 Michigan Wolverines

Michigan guard Zavier Simpson goes up for a shot against Ohio State on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. (AP photo)

By MITCH STACY
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After slogging through a miserable January, No. 23 Ohio State has won eight of its last 10 games, a surge that culminated in a 77-63 victory over No. 19 Michigan in front of sold-out crowd Sunday.
The Buckeyes (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten) did it by overwhelming the Wolverines late. After Michigan’s Jon Teske hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 54 with 6:41 left, CJ Walker’s jumper and back-to-back 3s by brothers Andre and Kaleb Wesson touched off a 23-9 Ohio State run to cap the victory.
Ohio State was led by its guards, but all five starters hit double figures. Duane Washington Jr. tied a career high with 20 points, and Walker had 15 and a career-tying six rebounds. Andre Wesson and Kaleb Wesson each had 14 points.
The resurgence from Ohio State came after a 2-6 start in Big Ten play in 2020 and the announcement that guard D.J. Carton was leaving the team for mental health reasons.
“Listen, we realize plenty of people wrote us off,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “When we were 2-6 they made fun of us. We had people kind of making fun of us and, you know, putting all their sarcastic tweets out there. I got them all saved. All of them.”
The Buckeyes have won three straight, swept the season series against Michigan, winning 61-58 in Ann Arbor on Feb. 4, and reached 20 wins for the third straight season and the 30th time in school history.
Franz Wagner had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolverines (18-11, 9-9), who lost their second straight after winning five in a row.
The two teams have followed s similar pattern: a hot start, January doldrums and improved play down the stretch.
Ohio State led 32-29 at the half behind Washington’s 12 points and 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range. The Buckeyes did not allow Michigan an offensive rebound in the first half.