Ohio State Falls at 16th Ranked Michigan State

19th ranked Ohio State wrapped up the regular season with a hard fought 80-69 loss at the hands of #16 Michigan State. After falling behind early, Ohio State stormed back to tie it, but playing shorthanded, without the services of Kyle Young for a third straight game, the Buckeyes ran out of gas ran out of gas and the Spartans went on a 36-16 run to put the game away and grab a share of the Big Ten Championship. Duane Washington led Ohio State with 16 and C.J. Walker scored 14, while E.J. Liddell scored 12 and Luther Muhammad added 10 for Ohio State who finishes the regular season 21-10 and 11-9 in Big Ten play.

Michigan State jumped out to an early 4-0 lead before a C.J. Walker buried a 15 footer to get Ohio State on the board. Andre Wesson found Luther Muhammad in the corner for a triple that gave the Buckeyes their first lead.  Another Buckeye bucket on a driving lay in by Duane Washington gave Ohio State a 7-4 lead and a 7-0 run.  The Spartans answered the Buckeye run with a 12-0 run of their own and Chris Holtmann called timeout, as Michigan State led 16-7 with 14:31 to go in the first half, dominating the glass early. Three straight E.J. Liddell points cut the lead to 6, but Michigan State scored the next 5 to lead by 11 heading into the under 12 media timeout and the Spartans on a 17-3 run. The Buckeyes cut into the lead when Andre Wesson completed an and one opportunity to trail by 8.  Ohio State trimmed the lead to 6 when E.J. Liddell scored on a short jumper in the paint but Michigan State answered with another 3 to go back up 9.  Ohio State twice cut the lead back to 7 before the Spartans banked in a three from the right wing to lead by 10 at the under 8 media timeout and Michigan State getting it done on the glass, scoring 10 second chance points which was the difference in the game to that point. A Sparty bucket put Michigan State back up 12 before a Kaleb Wesson dunk cut the lead back to 10.  After the Spartans split a pair of free throws, Duane Washington buried a triple from the head of the key and C.J. Walker scored at the rim to cut the lead to 6 and at the final media timeout of the half, Michigan State led 32-26. A pair of Kaleb Wesson free throws cut the lead to 4 before a Spartan bucket broke a nearly 3 minute drought without a Michigan State score. After a bucket each way, C.J. Walker went to the stripe to attempt to get the Buckeyes a little closer. However, Walker missed the front end of the one and one giving Michigan State an opportunity to close the half and they did just that, hitting a fade away baseline jumper at the horn sending the teams to the locker room with Michigan State leading Ohio State 38-32. After a hot 8 of 12 start from the Spartans, they cooled off, hitting only 7 of their final 22 shot attempts enabling the Buckeyes to creep back in it despite trailing on the backboards 21-15.  C.J. Walker scored 10 first half points and E.J. Liddell came off the bench to score 7 as Ohio State hit on 44% of their shot attempts but just 2 of 9 from deep.

The second half opened with Andre Wesson found a cutting Duane Washington Jr at the rim for a deuce and on the next possession, Andre Wesson buried a fade away jumper just above the block to cut the lead to two. After a bucket each way, Andre Wesson spun in the lane for a score to tie the score while being fouled. Wesson at the line to give Ohio State a lead, missed the free throw and a Spartan bucket broke the tie.  Kaleb Wesson taking a feed from Andre Wesson was fouled sending the teams to the benches at the under 16 media timeout with Michigan State clinging to a 44-42 lead. Out of the timeout, Kaleb Wesson buried a pair of free throws to tie the score again at 44, but a 9-2 Spartan run over the next 3 minutes gave Michigan State a 53-46 lead at the under 12 media timeout. E.J. Liddell drilled a triple from the right wing to bring Ohio State within 4 but Michigan State countered with a three of their own to put the Spartans back up 7. Luther Muhammad cut the lead to 5 with an offensive rebound and score before a 7-0 Spartan run ballooned the margin back to 11. Duane Washington Jr.’s three from deep on the right wing late in the shot clock got Ohio State back within 8 and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 8:36 to go and Michigan State on top 62-54. Facing an Ohio State zone, Spartan star Cassius Winston scored point 23 and 24 when his short jumper found the bottom and at the under 8 media timeout, the Spartans were pulling away, up 10 and in possession of the basketball, hitting 7 of their last 9 shot attempts. A Michigan State turnover led to a short jumper by E.J. Liddell cutting the lead to 8, but a 6-0 Spartan run all but put the game away, going ahead by as many as 16 before an Ohio State bucket just before the final media timeout of the game with the Spartans comfortably ahead 74-60 and just 3:49 left. The Spartans increased the lead to 20 before a late 9-0 Buckeye run completed the scoring.

This game was going to be difficult going in regardless of how good Michigan State is.  Playing a team on their floor, on senior night, especially shorthanded as Ohio State has been of late is tough to come away with a win. So now, the Buckeyes turn the page as they head to the post season and despite the loss today, they head into the Big Ten tournament playing good basketball.  The Buckeyes hope to get Kyle Young back for the post season, which will be much needed playing as many games as they will need to play to make a deep run into what has the makings of a wild week in Indianapolis.

The Buckeyes kick off the post season on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament. They will be seeded either 7th and take on Purdue at 6:30 or 6th and play the Nebraska/Indiana winner at approximately 9 pm. The seed is pending the result of the Iowa/Illinois game later this evening.  Should Iowa win, Ohio State will be the 6 and if Illinois wins they will be seeded 7th. Regardless of the seed, the game will be aired on BTN.  

-Jason Harris

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