Spartans Dominate 2nd Half to Defeat Buckeyes
Ohio State only managed four 2nd half field goals and Michigan State finished the game on a 20-2 run to defeat the Buckeyes 62-44. Kaleb Wesson led the Bucks in scoring with only 12 points in a game he did not have foul issues and should have been able to dominate the center position. But more was needed from the rest of the team that, for the second straight game was not there. The loss drops the Buckeyes to 16-9 overall and 6-8 in the conference.
The Buckeyes were certainly making a game of it for the first 20 minutes. Nick Ward started the scoring with a basket for Michigan State but Kaleb Wesson quickly returned the favor to start a run that would see Ohio State take 7-2 lead after a three by CJ Jackson. They were able to maintain the lead for almost the entire half and looked pretty good in the process. Thanks to only 4 turnovers by OSU and the fact the Spartans only shot 35% in the first half, Ohio State managed to hold on to a 31-25 lead at intermission.
The second half was a completely different story. Ohio State could not get anything to fall while Michigan State was shooting over 50%. The Buckeye starters were only 12-41 shooting from the field and didn’t make their first free throw of the game until the 16:08 mark in the second half. In spite of all that, Ohio State managed to hold on to a lead until the 11:59 mark. At that point, Matt McQuaid hit a three-pointer to give Sparty a 39-38 lead.
As it looked like Michigan State may pull away, in spite of playing without injured Nick Ward, but CJ Jackson hit a 3 point jumper to tie the game at 42-42 with 7:40 remaining in the game. Unfortunately, that was the last field goal of the game for Ohio State. At that point the turnover bug began to infect the Buckeyes so they were either missing a shot or giving the ball away. Their final two points came from the free throw line, compliments of Kaleb Wesson and Jaedon LeDee .
Michigan State scored 37 points in the second half alone which almost matched Ohio State’s 44 points for the game. There were a couple of times as the Spartans started their run that I thought a time out from Holtmann might have slowed the bleeding but he chose to take the three timeouts back to Columbus with him. The 44 point total was the lowest point output for the season for the Buckeyes.
A victory would have moved OSU into 7th place in the Big Ten and possibly secured a spot in the NCAA tournament. Now they will need to look for additional wins in their final six regular season games. Ohio State returns home Wednesday night to face Northwestern. This will be the first meeting of the season against the Wildcats. the contest will take place at 8:30 pm, and can be watched on BTN.