Ohio State Loses Their Second in a Row in Controversial Fashion

Coming off their first loss in just over a month, 4th ranked Ohio State fell again, this time on the road, breaking a six game road winning streak, falling to Michigan State 71-67 in the Buckeyes final road trip of the season. The loss dropped Ohio State to 18-6 and 12-6 in conference play. Playing without Kyle Young, out in concussion protocol, the Buckeyes struggled to get anything going in the paint and on the glass in splitting the season series with the Spartans. In a game that saw Chris Holtmann get disqualified for the first time in his coaching career with two technicals, the Buckeye bench was hot for much of the game on what appeared to be several missed foul calls especially on E.J. Liddell inside. Having said that, Ohio State led by as many as nine in the second half but just couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to get the win. E.J. Liddell led Ohio State with 18 points despite 4 of 13 shooting, and 8 rebounds. Duane Washington added 17, C.J. Walker 12, and Justice Sueing scored 10.

Michigan State got out to an early 5-2 lead, hitting their two opening shots, including a triple to offset a Duane Washington Jr bucket at the rim. The Buckeyes scored the next four to go back ahead but six straight Spartan points put Michigan State up 11-6 led by Aaron Henry’s seven. A Washington triple from the right point trimmed the lead to 11-9 and Washington answered Henry’s points with seven of his own in the opening minutes. Zed Key scored at the block off a nice post feed from Musa Jallow, however, in attempting to complete a three-point play, the free throw clanged long and Michigan State was able to get in transition for a lay up to break the tie. Washington scored on the left of the rim for the third time early in the ballgame to retie the score, but MSU’s Henry made a nice spin move in the middle of the lane and hit a floater to break the tie once again. Key scored on a jump hook to tie it and following a Spartan miss, C.J. Walker hit a straight on three to put Ohio State up three. Michigan State scored to cut the lead to one and at the under 12 timeout, Ohio State led 18-17. Sueing gave Ohio State a three-point lead going strong to the middle of the paint and hitting a short jumper and it increased to five when Key caught a Walker feed deep in the lane and scored at the rim. A Spartan three cut the lead to a pair before E.J. Liddell got on the board scoring from the left block. A Michigan State bucket cut the lead to two and at the under 8 media timeout, Ohio State held onto a 24-22 lead. It became a free throw contest over the next minute and a half with each team knocking down 3 of 4 to keep Ohio State’s two point lead. A Spartan jumper tied the score, but Sueing got free on the left wing and drilled a three to put Ohio State back ahead three. A pair of Liddell free throws increased the lead to five before a defensive miscommunication left a Spartan free at the rim for a dunk to cut the lead back to three. Ohio State increased the lead to six when Walker drilled a three from the head of the key and at the final media timeout of the half, Ohio State led 35-29. A 4-0 Spartan run cut the lead to two until Key scored mid paint with a jump hook to put Ohio State back up four. Sueing split a pair of free throws to complete the scoring for the half and the teams went to the locker room with Ohio State leading 38-33. It was a half plagued by turnovers as the Buckeyes turned it over 8 times compared to 9 for the Spartans. Ohio State held Michigan State to 46% shooting compared to 56% for the Buckeyes. Duane Washington, Jr was the lone player for both teams in double figures in the first half, scoring 11, while Justice Sueing added 8.

The Spartans opened the second half like they started the game, with a 5-2 run, cutting the lead to two. Michigan State tied the score after Chris Holtmann picked up a technical foul for vehemently arguing a non-foul call on E.J. Liddell’s post move that was one of several Holtmann was not happy about and this time he was hot walking out on the floor before being held back by his staff. The Buckeyes broke the tie when Liddell found Washington with an outlet pass off a rebound and Washington got to the rim to lay it in. The technical clearly lit a fire under the Buckeyes as they scored the next seven, four from Walker, to increase the lead to nine and a 9-0 run, forcing Tom Izzo to call timeout with Ohio State leading 49-40 with 13:24 to play. Michigan State came out of the timeout and broke the 9-0 run with a bucket to cut the lead to 7 and after a media timeout, another Spartan hoop cut the lead to five. Seth Towns scored with a turnaround fade away off the glass from 10, but four more for Michigan State forced Chris Holtmann to call timeout with Ohio State’s lead cut to three with 9:48 remaining. Out of the timeout, Musa Jallow found Liddell at the rim for two and after a Spartan bucket the other way, the lead stood at just three at the under 8 media timeout with Michigan State scheduled to head to the stripe to shoot two. The Spartans split the freebies to cut the lead to two and two free throws the other way by Liddell upped the Buckeye lead to four. A 4-0 Spartan run tied the score with 6:30 to go, but a pair of Liddell buckets and a 17 foot jumper from the right of the line from Washington sandwiched around a Spartan hoop had the Buckeyes up four. A quick Spartan timeout preceded a Spartan triple to cut the lead back to one and at the final media timeout of the game, Ohio State led 61-60 with 3:23 to go. A Spartan turnover out of the break turned into a transition opportunity for the Buckeyes and Walker was fouled going to the rim. He buried both free throws to put the Buckeyes up 3. Four Spartan free throws and another jumper put Michigan State up three with a minute to go and Ohio State called timeout and Holtmann was hot over the lack of foul calls on Ohio State’s end. A pair of Liddell free throws cut the Spartan lead to one, but a Michigan State jumper fell to put the Spartans back up three. Two more Liddell free throws cut the lead back to one with 14 seconds remaining and a foul sent Michigan State back to the stripe. The first was missed and Chris Holtmann called timeout with 12.8 seconds to go and one more free throw attempt for the Spartans. The second free throw dropped and a Washington drive to the rim missed as it looked like he was fouled with no call. A free throw the other way dropped and on the inbounds pass, Liddell was almost tackled without a call, causing Chris Holtmann to blow up and second technical foul sent him from the game. One more free throw ended the scoring and the Spartans pulled off the upset.

There are games when you just get beat and there are others where you beat yourselves. This one was more of the latter as Ohio State had one of it’s poorest offense efficiency games of the season, shooting just 44% including just 4 of 14 from long range. That said, in my humble opinion, this was one of the worst officiated games I have ever witnessed on one side. Liddell had to deal with guys hanging on his arms all night long like a jungle gym and yet got the benefit of very few calls.  Coach Holtmann was as hot on the sideline as I’ve ever seen him and rightly so. Despite all of that, they need to bounce back quickly. They are hopeful to get Kyle Young back for Sunday’s tilt and they are going to need him as they return home for the final two against two ranked opponents.

The Buckeyes return home to host #9 Iowa on Sunday afternoon. The game is airing nationally on CBS with a scheduled tip time of 4 PM.

-Jason Harris

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