COLUMBUS — Despite the 26-point deficit in Saturday’s 72-46 loss to Ohio State, Michigan actually shot better than the Buckeyes, 46 percent to 45 percent. But Ohio State took 23 more shots than the Wolverines, due to a season-high 29 turnovers by Michigan.

The Wolverines have struggled to maintain control of the ball in recent games. Saturday’s game was the fourth time Michigan has turned the ball over 20 or more times in the past six games, and it was the highest total since the Wolverines committed 25 during the Jan. 5 game against Iowa. Michigan almost managed to accomplish that feat in the first half, committing 18 turnovers and having just one assist in the first 20 minutes.

“It’s not just our perimeter players but our entire basketball team (that struggled),” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “I’m in charge; I’m responsible. So when that happens, it’s my fault.”

The Wolverines couldn’t place the blame on any one person, as the turnovers were fairly balanced. Four players — Dion Harris, Ron Coleman, J.C. Mathis and Courtney Sims — committed four turnovers apiece. Every player that saw action for Michigan committed at least one turnover except for Brent Petway.

Most of Michigan’s turnovers came as a result of weak passes and a lack of off-the-ball movement on offense. The Buckeyes weren’t being overly aggressive on the defensive end, and 12 of Michigan’s turnovers were unforced errors.

“We were being careless with the ball,” Sims said. “They were playing solid defense, but we were just being soft with the ball all game.”

More than four minutes into the game, Michigan remained scoreless and committed four turnovers. The Wolverines had several scoring droughts in the first half that were the result of turnovers, and Ohio State cruised to a 22-4 lead just eight minutes into the game. The 18 turnovers in Saturday’s first half were more than the total amount in the 15 previous games for Michigan this season.

After halftime, Michigan took better care of the ball, with 11 turnovers in the second half. While the number itself isn’t overly impressive, Michigan had fewer unforced errors and made sharper passes.

“We had to make harder cuts to get open,” Petway said about the second-half adjustments. “We were trying to cut down on the mental errors as well, like illegal screens and things like that. We just got tougher.”

Ohio State benefited from Michigan’s turnovers, as the Buckeyes scored 31 of their 72 points off turnovers — and the those 31 points were enough to cover the margin of victory. The Buckeyes grew a large lead from the opening tip and never looked back. Ohio State came into the game averaging a little over seven steals per game — good enough for fifth in the Big Ten — but shattered their season high with 17 on Saturday.

“We like to be active on the defensive end,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We try to get our guys to do multiple things at once, and I thought the activity was good. Everyone was involved throughout the game.”

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