Ohio State was primed for a fall but found the right prop on the Buckeyes bench.
Ohio State had just moved up to No. 2 in the Board of Coaches poll and is less than a week away from a rematch with No. 4 Indiana, but with Chris Jent scoring 14 points Monday night the Buckeyes posted an 81-65 victory over the Michigan Wolverines to grab a share of Indiana's Big Ten Conference lead.In other games involving Top 25 teams Monday night, Furman knocked off No. 9 East Tennessee State 104-93 and Connecticut was a 61-55 winner over No. 17 Georgetown, No. 10 Southern Mississippi was an 81-62 winner at McNeese State and No. 15 New Mexico State held off Cal-Santa Barbara 67-64 in a Big West Conference game.
Jent, a junior, was a starter as a sophomore but has been made into an irreplaceable sixth man for Ohio State this season. He scored half of his points during an 11-2 run in the second half that was worth control of the game.
Jent hit a 3-point shot that gave Ohio State the lead for good at 11-9 and the Buckeyes led 36-29 at halftime. Michigan pulled within 44-39 but Jent sank two free throws and hit another 3-pointer to put Ohio State up by 10 points.
Wolverines Coach Steve Fisher said, "Jent was the big difference in the first half, I thought."
Jim Jackson scored 21 points and had six assists and seven rebounds to lead the Buckeyes' attack. Jent was among five Ohio State players in double figures. Michael Talley had 21 points to lead Michigan, which fell to 11-10 overall and 4-7 in the conference.
Ohio State went to 20-1 on the season and is tied with Indiana at 10-1 in the Big Ten. the Buckeyes and Hoosiers square off at Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.
At Santa Barbara, Calif., William Benjamin hit four free throws and Randy Brown made two steals in the last minute to help the Aggies pull out the win. Reggie Jordan led New Mexico State, 18-2 and 10-1, with 15 points and Brown finished with 14. Lucius Davis scored 19 and Gary Gray added 17 for the Gauchos, 10-11 and 5-7. UCSB was within 1 point, 60-59 with a minute and a half left, but the Aggies, led by Benjamin and Brown, hit seven free throws down the stretch.