Rikki Harris’ Career Night Leads No. 16 Ohio State Past No. 12 Michigan, 74-61

By February 20, 2023 (8:59 pm)Basketball

No. 16 Ohio State saw a stellar outing on Monday from guard Rikki Harris, who scored a career-high 23 points in a 74-61 win at No. 12 Michigan.

Beyond Harris’ impressive performance, the Buckeyes (23-5, 12-5 Big Ten) shot a blazing 52.6 percent (10 of 19) from deep and forced the Wolverines (20-7, 10-6) into 27 turnovers, resulting in 17 points for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State and Michigan traded big runs to begin the contest, with the Wolverines jumping out to a 10-2 lead before the Buckeyes responded with a 14-4 run to lead 16-14 with 3:48 left in the first quarter.

The Buckeyes later extended the lead to 24-17 entering the second frame, capitalizing on 6-of-7 shooting from deep in the quarter, including a trio of makes from guard Taylor Mikesell and a deep shot from guard Taylor Thierry with just seconds remaining in the first.

Ohio State forward Rebeka Mikulášiková – who came off the bench for the second-consecutive game as she continues to recover from a high ankle sprain – started the second quarter off with a triple, and guard Rikki Harris matched with a three of her own on the Buckeyes’ next possession.

Michigan forward Leigha Brown scored the next seven points for the Wolverines, and after a three-pointer from guard Jordan Hobbs, Brown took advantage of a turnover by Mikesell to cut the deficit to 35-32 with 4:14 left in the half.

Harris responded by completing an and-one opportunity, and after back-to-back baskets from Brown and Hobbs, Harris was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three shots at the charity stripe, giving the Buckeyes a 41-37 lead heading into the half. Brown finished the first half with 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, while Harris led Ohio State with 15 points, hitting two of the Buckeyes’ eight makes from deep.

After a first half at breakneck speed, things slowed down to begin the third quarter. The teams combined to shoot just 4 of 14 from the field and underwent a scoring drought of over two minutes as Ohio State held a 47-43 lead with 4:55 remaining in the frame.

The Buckeyes closed the quarter on an 8-5 run to lead 55-48 heading into the fourth, holding onto the advantage after the Wolverines shot just 27.3 percent from the field and turned the ball over nine times in the third.

Harris started the fourth quarter off with a jumper before connecting from deep to give Ohio State a 62-50 lead with 7:37 remaining. The Buckeyes were then held scoreless for 4:12, but the Wolverines were unable to capitalize on the drought and Ohio State maintained a 64-53 lead with 3:25 left. Ohio State then pushed the lead to as many as 15 points in the final minutes after late points from freshman forward Cotie McMahon and Thierry.

Harris team-high 23 points came on 7-of-9 shooting, including a 3 of 4 mark from beyond the arc, to go with seven steals, five assists and four rebounds. Mikesell and Thierry also finished in double digits, scoring 12 and 15 points, respectively. Brown paced the Wolverines with 36 points and added nine rebounds, while forward Emily Kiser (11 points) and Hobbs (10 points) were the only other double-digit scorers.

Ohio State will close the regular season at home on Friday, set to host No. 7 Maryland at 6 p.m. The win for the Buckeyes over Michigan locked Ohio State into a top-four seed in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, securing a double-bye.

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