Ohio State nearly went back-to-back, but fell just short.
Almost one year after Ohio State beat top-ranked Michigan State to assert itself in the race for the Big Ten title, the No. 14 Buckeyes fell 86-77 on Saturday at the Schottenstein Center to the No. 8 Spartans, who handed Ohio State its first loss of conference play.
|#14 OHIO STATE (12-2)||43||34||77|
|#8 MICHIGAN STATE (13-2)||36||50||86|
A pair of free throws from Keyshawn Woods gave Ohio State a one-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the game. The tide quickly turned, though, with an 8-0 run from Michigan State to give the Spartans a 79-72 lead with just a little over a minute remaining, as the Buckeyes made just two of their final 11 shots of the game.
Kaleb Wesson, a former Westerville South star matched up against Nick Ward from Gahanna Lincoln, got the best of his fellow Columbus native. The sophomore big man hit nine of 15 shots, dropping 25 points and grabbing eight rebounds. But with 1:07 remaining, Wesson was called for a foul, his fifth of the game, which ended his afternoon early.
Cassius Winston paced Michigan State, hitting eight of 12 shots for 22 points. Sixteen of Winston's points came in the second half. Ward added 21 points, hitting five of seven shots and going 11-for-14 from the free-throw stripe.
|OHIO STATE||STAT||MICHIGAN STATE|
|27-62 (43.5%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||25-46 (54.3%)|
|7-25 (28%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||6-18 (33.3%)|
|16-21 (76.2%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||30-37 (81.1%)|
Both teams played a relatively even first half. But a pair of free throws from Andre Wesson with 3:28 remaining in the first half sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Buckeyes a seven-point lead, the largest advantage of the opening half, and brought a 43-36 lead into halftime.
Five Ohio State players scored double-digit points. Luther Muhammad, C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson and Duane Washington Jr. each scored either 10 or 12 points.
Justin Ahrens' brother, Kyle, started for the Spartans and had nine points. The Ahrens brothers, natives of Versailles, had a large contingent of fans in attendance on Saturday; Justin Ahrens played two minutes.
Several football players were in attendance for Saturday's game, as quarterback Justin Fields made his first public appearance since announcing his transfer to Ohio State. He sat with Dwayne Haskins in the second row for the entirety of the game. Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer joined them for a few minutes in the first half. New head coach Ryan Day was also in attendance.