Nightmare Season Continues, Buckeyes Drubbed by Spartans

Another game, another loss for an Ohio State team seemingly looking at a lost season. The Buckeyes dropped their 6th straight and 11th in their last 12, falling behind after a miserable first half and could not get closer than 6 in the second half, falling to visiting Michigan State 62-41 to fall to 11-14 and 3-11. Michigan State improved to 16-9 and 8-6 with the win. The Buckeyes played the worst half of basketball in memory, scoring only 14 first half points, digging a 13 point deficit at halftime. Ohio State shot an abhorrent 28% from the field, including 6 of 29 from deep while the Spartans hit on 46% and just 7 of 22 from long range, while a 26-12 Spartan advantage in the paint and a 14-6 advantage in points off turnovers made the difference. Sean McNeil led Ohio State with 10, while Joey Hauser led Michigan State with 22. 

Despite 4 turnovers in the first 5 minutes, Ohio State took a 6-4 lead into the first media timeout thanks to triples by Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing. The Buckeyes went scoreless leading into the next media timeout, turning it over 3 more times and the Spartans took advantage, scoring the next 5 to take a 9-6 lead with 10:46 left in the first half. In addition to the turnovers, Ohio State was just 2 of 9 from the floor, and fortunately for the Buckeyes, the Spartans weren’t much better, hitting just 4 of 13. Sensabaugh split a pair of free throws, breaking a 6 ½ minute scoring drought and trimmed the deficit to 2 and Ohio State tied it when Sean McNeil got to the rim off the bounce for a score. Michigan State went back in front, scoring the next five before a Sueing leaner cut the lead to 3. Five more Spartan points extended the lead to 7 and at the under 8, with 5:58 remaining in the first half, Michigan State led 18-11. The run continued for the Spartans out of the timeout, scoring with outstanding ball movement, leading to a layup. Another Ohio State turnover and a Spartan lay up in the half court and and at the final media timeout Michigan State was doubling up the Buckeyes at 22-11 as Ohio State had not scored in nearly 5 minutes, while the Spartans scored the last 11. Ohio State’s drought continued out of the timeout, missing 3 straight shots from point blank range and five more Spartan points put the Spartans up 16. Finally an Ohio State jumper dropped just before half as Roddy Gayle dropped in a triple from the right corner and at the half, Michigan State led 27-14. Ohio State finished the half a putrid 5 of 26 from the floor, including 3 of 15 from beyond the arc, while the Spartans were just 12 of 30 and 3 of 11. The Spartans enjoyed a 14-2 advantage in the paint and 8 Buckeye turnovers led to an 8-0 Spartan edge in points off turnovers leading to the big halftime deficit. Justice Sueing had 5 and Brice Sensabaugh 4 to lead Ohio State. Michigan State was led by 9 from Joey Hauser on 3 triples. 

The Spartans scored first to start the second half, but Ohio State answered. After Zed Key scored on a put back, Thornton buried a triple to cut the deficit to 10. After Michigan State scored on a put back, Thornton scored again with a jumper just below the stripe. After an offensive foul on Michigan State, Key scored on a tip in.  A Michigan State score after a Buckeye turnover just before the under 16 and with 14:34 to play, the Spartans led 33-23. After a Spartan bucket, Gayle’s dribble drive and kick to McNeil in the left corner led to a McNeil three and the Buckeyes trailed by 9.  The Spartans answered with a three of their own, but after another McNeil triple, Ohio State took a timeout with 12:28 to go and the Spartans lead trimmed to 38-29. The Buckeyes got even closer after a Spartan turnover led to a Sensabaugh jumper from the stripe and another break in the action for the under 12 media timeout with Michigan State’s lead trimmed to 38-31. After a defensive stop, Sensabaugh scored with a short jumper off the window to bring Ohio State a little closer. A Michigan State turnover and in transition Ohio State was unable to convert and the Spartans made them pay with a three. Gayle dropped in a jumper to cut the deficit to 6, but Michigan State answered with a quick 8-0 run to take control and go back ahead 14 and Ohio State took a timeout with 6:54 to play. The Spartans extended the lead to 16, matching their largest lead of the game, before Thornton hit a foul line jumper, but an Ohio State turnover led to a Spartan lay up on the other end and at the final media timeout, the Spartans were cruising, up 53-37. The Spartans ballooned their lead to 20 before Thornton dropped in a short jumper. Another Spartan triple extended the lead to 21 and at the next dead ball, the bench cleared for Michigan State. McNeil banked in a runner to complete the scoring in another Ohio State loss.

It’s the same old story for this Ohio State basketball team. This season has defied logic in so many ways. While there seems to be a lot of talent, they have just not been able to string 40 minutes of good basketball together in a mediocre, but competitive Big Ten conference. Game in and game out, they dig big holes and storm back, but can’t ever create enough momentum and get the stops they need to win a basketball game. It’s like a broken record with this team as the same deficiencies appear in every ballgame. It’s a lost season at this point, but they still have games to play and they may not win any of them. This game was just a microcosm of the season to this point. They looked lost at times offensively and when they clawed back and got close, they couldn’t convert to get closer or the stops they needed to get back in it. There isn’t much to say except to play this season out and see where it takes them and reset in the offseason with reinforcements on the way. 

The Buckeyes head back out on the road for the next one, facing Iowa in Iowa City on Thursday night. Tip time is scheduled for 9 PM and airing on ESPN2.

-Jason Harris

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