Ohio State Knocks Off Michigan State, 68-58, Advances to Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

By Griffin Strom on March 10, 2023 at 4:53 pm

Third time’s a charm for Ohio State.

Despite losing both matchups with Michigan State in the regular season, the Buckeyes knocked off the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament Friday to further their unexpected run to the semifinal round in Chicago. Even without leading scorer Brice Sensabaugh, who missed the game due to knee soreness, Ohio State didn’t lose any postseason magic in a 68-58 win over MSU.

With the win, the Buckeyes became the first No. 13 seed ever to reach the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. Prior to the victory over the Spartans, No. 13 seeds were 0-5 in quarterfinal matchups.

Team 1 2 FINAL
#13 OHIO STATE 33 35 68
#4 MICHIGAN STATE 24 34 58

Ohio State built a double-digit lead in the first half and held the Spartans to just 24 points through 20 minutes. Michigan State made a push to get back into it early in the second half, but the Buckeyes answered back to keep the Spartans at bay through the midway point of the period.

Michigan State didn’t go out quietly, cutting the Buckeye lead to single digits on multiple occasions down the stretch, but Roddy Gayle came up clutch for the second straight game to help lead Ohio State to victory. The true freshman had a career-high 15 points and hit several clutch shots to keep the Buckeyes on top in crucial moments.

Ohio State has now won three games in three days and advances to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals where it will match up with No. 1 seed Purdue on Saturday.

First Half

Michigan State rattled off a 7-0 run in a 1:21 stretch to set the tone early in the first half. The Spartans hit four straight field goals to go up by as many as five points in the opening five minutes of action.

But Justice Sueing came out hot for the Buckeyes, scoring eight of their first 10 points to give Ohio State a 10-9 edge after hitting his second 3-pointer of the first six minutes. Sean McNeil, who started in place of Sensabaugh, knocked down another triple at the 11:55 mark to increase the lead to four points. With Sensabaugh out, Tanner Holden – who hadn’t played since Feb. 16 – even saw playing time in the opening nine minutes.

Holden nailed a corner three at 8:44 to put Ohio State up five, his first 3-point make since Jan. 15, but immediately received a technical foul for looking back at the Michigan State bench in celebration. Still, the Buckeyes held a seven-point lead, 24-17, with six minutes before intermission.

The Spartans went ice cold from the floor, shooting just 31% in the first half as Ohio State took a nine-point lead and forced an MSU timeout with 3:55 to go. When the Buckeyes knocked down their fifth 3-pointer of the half less than 90 seconds later, the scarlet and gray led 33-22.

Michigan State scored the final two points of the half, but Ohio State went to the locker room up nine (33-24) after hitting 20.9% more of its shots than the Spartans. The Buckeyes also nailed five times as many 3-pointers, as MSU went 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.

Second Half

68 POINTS 58
25-56 (44.6%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 21-55 (38.2%)
10-19 (52.6%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 3-16 (18.8%)
8-12 (66.7%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 13-18 (72.2%)

The Spartans got in rhythm early in the second half. Michigan State scored on its first two possessions to cut the Buckeye lead to just four points before two minutes passed in the period. By the 16:35 mark, the Spartans put together a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to two, 36-34, and Chris Holtmann was forced to call timeout.

Then the Buckeyes stemmed the tide. Suing and Bruce Thornton knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to stop the bleeding, silence the pro-MSU crowd and put Ohio State back ahead by eight. At the under-12-minute media timeout, the Buckeyes had opened up a double-digit advantage on the Spartans (46-36) once again.

After scoring nine points in the final 6:02 on Thursday, Roddy Gayle hit back-to-back shots – including a pull-up 3-pointer at 8:05 – to give Ohio State a 51-39 lead. Sueing hit his fourth three of the day a little under 30 seconds later to make it a 13-point game.

But a series of free-throw misses and fouls left the door open. MSU nailed a 3-pointer at 6:07 to make it an eight-point game, and with the clock ticking under five minutes, the Spartans only trailed by six after a 9-2 run.

But Gayle came up clutch again, nailing another three with the shot clock winding down at 3:13 to make it an 11-point Buckeye lead. It was a 5-0 run by Gayle alone.

After that, Thornton scored a transition layup on a Michigan State goal tend to put Ohio State up by 13. It was the game-sealing play with 1:31 remaining.

What’s Next?

Ohio State advances to the semifinal round of the Big Ten Tournament where it will face No. 1 seed Purdue at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Buckeyes lost both regular-season matchups against the Boilermakers.

Game Notes

  • Brice Sensabaugh (knee soreness) missed his first game all season for Ohio State. The freshman forward didn’t play for the final 3:17 against Iowa on Thursday, and Chris Holtmann said afterward that Sensabaugh “just wasn’t feeling great.” Following the win over the Spartans, Holtmann said OSU would "know more tonight" about his availability for Purdue. 
  • Sean McNeil started in place of Sensabaugh after coming off the bench in eight of the past nine games. Joining McNeil in the starting lineup were Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle, Justice Sueing and Felix Okpara.
  • Michigan State blew out the Buckeyes, 62-41, in the first matchup of the season in Columbus on Feb. 12. Ohio State had a better performance in the rematch, when the Spartans won by six points on Senior Day in East Lansing on March 4.
  • Ohio State started its Big Ten Tournament run with wins over Wisconsin and Iowa on Wednesday and Thursday, while MSU made its first tournament appearance on Friday after securing a double-bye.
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