Michigan State has won three in a row and two straight against top-five opponents after beating No. 4 Ohio State 71-68 Thursday night in East Lansing.
Ohio State missed seven straight shots in the final five minutes of the game as Michigan State imposed its will on defense and Aaron Henry took control of the game offensively. While the Buckeyes fought offensively, the Spartans played their best basketball in the half and came up big on shot after shot, even on well-defended possessions.
Henry finished the game with a team-high 18 points with four rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals. He was tasked with guarding Ohio State star EJ Liddell and acting as a point guard in line-up lineups. Michigan State drove everything through Henry and rode its success to win a game that had long been dominated by the Buckeyes.
There was plenty of frustration on the Ohio State sideline with physical play down low that contributed to the empty offensive possessions. Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann received a technical error early in the second half to argue for a missed call, and when contact was made on the team’s last shot to level the game, he took the opportunity to bring his points back to officials on the way to receive another technical error and be thrown out of the game.
The quality win for Michigan State will keep his hopes alive to get a big bid on the NCAA Tournament.
For Ohio State, the loss follows the defeat against Michigan last weekend in another game where the Buckeyes had their chances late and could not convert. Next is Iowa Sunday, with the Hawkeyes rolling into Columbus from the unilateral loss to Michigan Thursday night.