INDIANAPOLIS — It doesn't matter where the Ohio State men's basketball team plays Michigan State — the Buckeyes can't keep pace with the Spartans.
For the third time in three weeks — all at different venues — the Spartans overwhelmed Ohio State, and this time it should be enough to keep the Buckeyes out of the NCAA Tournament. Michigan State won, 81-54, in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The 54 points is a season-low for Ohio State.
Per usual, Big Ten Player of the Year Denzel Valentine led the way for Michigan State. The Spartans (28-6, 14-5 Big Ten) owned a 33-26 advantage at intermission and used an 14-2 run to start the second half and effectively shut the door on Thad Matta's club. Valentine finished with a game-high 19 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out eight assists.
The Spartans started the second half 8-of-11 from the field, highlighted by 3-pointers from Valentine and Eron Harris. They led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||MICHIGAN STATE|
|23-54 (43)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||31-64 (48)|
|1-11 (9)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8-23 (35)|
|7-11 (64)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||11-14 (79)|
A less than appealing opening 20 minutes ended with both teams combining to make just five of their last 34 shots. Valentine headed the Spartan attack with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.
JaQuan Lyle netted seven for the Buckeyes in the first half, who failed to make a shot from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes. He did not score until the final 90 seconds, when he made Ohio State's lone 3-pointer to lead the Buckeyes with 10 points.
Marc Loving finished nine points, A.J. Harris and Trevor Thompson each had eight, Daniel Giddens seven and Kam Williams six.
Michigan State advances to play the winner of Nebraska-Maryland on Saturday. The Buckeyes (20-13, 12-8) await their tournament fate this weekend.