In a game Ohio State desperately needed to boost its NCAA Tournament résumé, the Buckeyes ran into a Michigan State 3-point shooting buzzsaw.
The Spartans shot an absurd 64 percent from deep to down Ohio State, 81-62, Tuesday at Value City Arena.
Ohio State remained within striking distance near the midway point of the second half, but the Spartans turned to their star guard and a fellow member of their backcourt to firmly push aside the Buckeyes.
Denzel Valentine's fourth 3-pointer extended Michigan State's lead to double digits with 12 minutes left, then he fed the sharpshooting Bryn Forbes to extend the advantage to as many as 17. Forbes hit six of his first seven 3-pointers in the second half, running off screens and knocking down open look after open look. He finished with a game-high 27 points and made 7-of-10 shots from 3-point land.
Valentine scored 17 points, dished out eight assists and corralled five rebounds. Senior big man Matt Costello added 16 for the No. 6 Spartans (23-5, 10-5 Big Ten), who showed why they are a legitimate Final Four contender.
Ohio State hung tough early, and two free throws by Keita Bates-Diop capped a 7-0 run to put the Buckeyes out front 25-24 with 6:21 left in the first half. The lead was short lived.
Ignited by a pair of 3-pointers by Valentine, Michigan State responded with a 12-6 run to end the half. Ohio State failed to make a field goal for more than 6 minutes, but got to the free-throw line to weather to storm and trail 36-31 at intermission. The Spartans shot a blistering 70 percent (7-for-10) from deep in the opening half.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||MICHIGAN STATE|
|19-48 (40)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||31-57 (54)|
|5-14 (36)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||14-22 (64)|
|19-21 (90)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||5-7 (71)|
JaQuan Lyle's 3-pointer on Ohio State's first possession of the second half got his team back within two, before Michigan State's 3-point shooting barrage began.
Marc Loving led Ohio State with 19 points and made all 10 of his free-throw attempts. Lyle added 16. The Buckeyes went 19-of-21 from the line.
The Spartans recored 16 assists as a team, to just four by Ohio State.
The game was Ohio State's first this season without sophomore forward Jae'Sean Tate, who the program announced before the game is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
The loss ends Ohio State's four-game winning streak. Michigan State has won seven out of its last eight.
The Buckeyes (18-11, 10-6) host Iowa Sunday at 4 p.m. and travel to East Lansing for their regular season finale against Michigan State the following Saturday.