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Ohio St. 75, Michigan 68
Posted: Friday March 08, 2002 11:53 PM
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Ohio St.
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INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Velimir Radinovic made the most of a rare opportunity.

Radinovic had two key baskets down the stretch as No. 17 Ohio State held off Michigan, 75-68, to advance to the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament.

Ohio State (21-7) advanced to play No. 15 Illinois in Saturday's semifinals.

Radinovic started in place of freshman center Terence Dials but played only five minutes in the first half. It did not seem like the Buckeyes would be threatened after bolting to a 15-2 lead and building a 42-35 halftime edge.

"I thought early on in the first half that offensively we could have had an opportunity to be up by double figures, but I think Michigan deserves a lot of credit for staying in it," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "We made plays at the end, they never got the lead and that was significant." Michigan (11-18) scored six straight points to cut its deficit to 64-63 on Chris Young's hook shot with 5:28 remaining. Radinovic scored a pair of inside baskets for a five-point cushion.

The Wolverines twice pulled within two points in the final three minutes, but Ohio State guard Brian Brown responded with baskets on both occasions.

LaVell Blanchard cut the deficit to 70-68 with a basket with 71 seconds left. The Buckeyes worked the shot clock and Brown made a jumper with 38 seconds to go to seal the victory.

"I was missing a lot of easy baskets that I usually make," Brown said. "The jump shot I hit at the foul line, I just shot it with confidence and luckily it went in for me." Dials came off the bench to lead the Buckeyes with 14 points. Brent Darby, a Michigan native, scored all 10 of his points in the first half for Ohio State.

"Terence is still a work in progress," said O'Brien, perhaps explaining his decision not to start the freshman. "He's got a long way to go. He's not a real refined offensive player. He's played very well and I thought he did a great job tonight." Blanchard had his second strong game of the tournament with 24 points but received little help from his teammates. Bernard Robinson Jr. made just 3-of-14 shots for 10 points and senior center Chris Young also added 10.

"LaVell had a tremendous tournament as he had two outstanding offensive performances," Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. "He showed what a true team leader is." The Buckeyes placed five players in double figures as Brown and Zach Williams each added 11 points. Boban Savovic came up with 10 points as Ohio State improved to 3-0 against Michigan this season.

Dials helped dominate Michigan inside as Ohio State held a 32-20 advantage in points in the paint. The Buckeyes held a 34-32 edge on the glass, led by Brown's six boards.

Ohio State's players shaved their heads in a show of unity, including Savovic. The native of Croatia normally has a full head of hair.

"We did it because we wanted to come here as a team and represent Ohio State," he said. "I did it last night, I was just being lazy." .

 


 
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