The Michigan Wolverines snapped their five-game losing streak in dramatic fashion on Monday, defeating archrival Ohio State 73-65 in front of a Crisler Center crowd that included the program’s iconic Fab Five.
Fab Five Reunites for First Time Since 1993
For the first time since they played together in the early 1990s, the Fab Five of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson reunited to watch a Michigan basketball game from courtside seats (Freep, CBS Sports). It marked the first time the legendary Wolverines squad attended a game at Crisler Center since 1993. Michigan coach Juwan Howard, part of the Fab Five team himself, brought back his former teammates to provide inspiration in his program’s time of need. Their appearance helped spark a vintage performance from the Wolverines.
Webber at Crisler for First Time Since Disassociation
For Chris Webber, it was his first appearance at a Michigan basketball game since being disassociated from the university for NCAA violations in 2003. The 18-year estrangement with his alma mater has clearly ended, with Webber saying he wants to reunite with his Fab Five brothers to help uplift Howard’s program (AP, MLive). Having such iconic figures back on Michigan’s side could prove invaluable as the Wolverines aim for greater heights under Howard.
|Fab Five Member
|5x All-Star (All-NBA)
|64 Career Games
|None (Overseas Career)
Wolverines Snap Losing Skid in Dramatic Fashion
After dropping five consecutive contests, including an embarrassing loss at home to Central Michigan, the Wolverines desperately needed a win on Monday against their hated rivals to stop the bleeding (Detroit News). Though they led for most of the game, Michigan nearly blew another large second-half advantage before hanging on down the stretch to defeat Ohio State 73-65.
Terrance Williams paced the Wolverines with 18 points and 7 rebounds, repeatedly making clutch shots to keep the Buckeyes at bay every time they closed the gap. The junior forward scored 13 of his points in the second half while playing suffocating defense, willing Michigan to a win they desperately needed (247 Sports).
Tables Were Turned from Last Matchup
In their previous matchup with Ohio State on Jan. 3, Michigan completely collapsed in the second half after leading by double digits, falling to the Buckeyes at home. This time it was the Buckeyes who clawed back from a 14-point deficit, but the Wolverines managed to avoid another epic meltdown and finished strong for the victory (UM Hoops). After struggling mightily down the stretch of recent games, Michigan’s ability to put together a complete, composed performance could signify the young team is learning how to close contests.
Buckeyes’ Road Struggles Continue
The loss extended Ohio State’s road losing streak to 12 games dating back to last season, an alarming trend for an otherwise talented Buckeyes squad (Eleven Warriors). Ohio State hasn’t won a true road game since March 2022. After clawing back to within one possession with under two minutes left, the Buckeyes missed their final four field goal attempts to fall short of completing the comeback.
Justice Sueing led Ohio State with 16 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back from injury, while Brice Sensabaugh added 13 points (Dispatch). But critical mistakes down the stretch plagued the Buckeyes once again on the road.
After finally tasting victory again, Michigan will try to build momentum with a favorable schedule over the next two weeks. The Wolverines travel to Piscataway to take on last-place Rutgers on Thursday before hosting Minnesota and Northwestern.
Meanwhile, Ohio State will look to bounce back at home against Iowa on Saturday. If the Buckeyes hope to contend for a Big Ten title, they must figure out their road woes soon, with tough trips to Purdue, Indiana and Illinois looming in February. But first they’ll focus on defending their home court against the talented Hawkeyes.
Both teams are hoping this rivalry matchup will prove a turning point in their seasons – Michigan to springboard a young squad back into contention, and Ohio State to regain its early magic after recent struggles. The outcome could significantly shift the trajectory for the Wolverines and Buckeyes going forward.
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