Dale Bonner’s Buzzer-Beater Completes 12-Point Second-Half Comeback To Snap Ohio State’s 17-Game Road Losing Streak, 60-57 at Michigan State

By Andy Anders on February 25, 2024 at 6:26 pm

One could only imagine the emotions coursing through Dale Bonner's veins as his shot splashed through the netting at the Breslin Center.

A 12-point second-half comeback secured. A school-record road losing streak snapped. NCAA Tournament hopes revived.

All from his three-pointer that fell with 0.2 seconds to play on Sunday.

OHIO STATE 22 38 60

Bonner's triple gave Ohio State (16-12, 6-10 Big Ten) a 60-57 win over Michigan State (17-11, 9-8) on the road.

The Buckeyes had lost their previous 17 games in hostile environments, failing to come out victorious in 420 days in those settings.

Freshman forward Devin Royal enjoyed something of a breakout performance, putting up a career-high 14 points to lead the Buckeyes' scorers. Bruce Thornton gathered 11 points. Roddy Gayle Jr. had 12 points with eight rebounds, a block and two steals.

Guards Malik Hall and Tyson Walker picked up 15 and 12 points for Michigan State in a losing effort.

Ohio State secured the victory without the services of Jamison Battle, who missed Sunday's game with an ankle injury. The Big Ten's most accurate three-point shooter entered the afternoon listed as questionable, so a return for the Buckeyes' next game on Thursday is in the realm of possibility.

First half

Michigan State's shooters were so open early that they could have built fortresses where they stood outside the three-point line.

The Spartans jumped out to an 8-2 lead thanks to distance makes from Hoggard and Hall, then pushed that edge back to 13-8 when center Xavier Booker canned another triple.

It took over 12 minutes for the Buckeyes to hit a shot outside the paint.

They weren't alone in shooting cold through the middle of the first half, however. Following Booker's make with 14:01 left in the opening period neither team hit a field goal for the next 3:20 of game time. A fastbreak dunk from Gayle snapped that stretch and cut the Michigan State lead to 13-12.

The Spartans pushed the edge back to 17-12 on their first field goal in more than five minutes, the Thornton knocked down Ohio State's first three in six tries.

From there, Michigan State pushed its lead to 27-18 on a 10-3 extended run that felt more like a crawl, lasting for a span of 4:27.

A three and a buzzer-beating layup from Tyson Walker helped the Spartans carry a 32-22 lead into the locker room. Ohio State shot a dismal 24.1% from the field in the first half and 1-of-10 from three.

Second half

60 POINTS 57
22-58 (37.9%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 22-55 (40%)
3-17 (17.6%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 4-16 (25%)
13-18 (72.2%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 9-11 (81.8%)

Both teams picked up the pace a touch to start the second half, scoring 17 combined points in the first five minutes. 

Transition defense cost Ohio State a chance to cut into the Spartans' lead, however, as two of Michigan State's baskets during those five minutes came in fastbreak opportunities off of made Buckeye shots.

When a three from Dale Bonner and a lay-in from Royal cut the scoreline to 42-36, a trio of fastbreak buckets for MSU immediately pushed it back to 48-36 with 11:56 to play.

Royal continued his roll, collecting one jumper from inside the paint and one from outside it to make it a 50-44 ballgame.

The Buckeyes kept fighting. Zed Key dusted off an old-fashioned three-point play after barely beating the shot clock, and then a post hook from Felix Okpara cut the lead to 52-51.

Neither team scored for more than three minutes, the Buckeyes missing opportunities to take their first lead of the game. Hall broke the stretch with a mid-range jumper for Michigan State.

With Ohio State now trailing 56-53, Royal again kept the squad afloat, converting a layup down low to make it 56-55 with 1:11 to play.

Then Gayle drew a foul with 11 seconds left and cashed in both free throws to give Ohio State its first lead in a basketball game since the second half of its upset victory over then-No. 2 Purdue.

Walker tied things on the opposite end with a free throw. Thornton took the ball with six seconds remaining and split a double team to break Michigan State's press, then tossed it up the floor to Bonner, well-guarded by Walker.

Bonner gathered to his right, then hoisted a shot over Walker's outstretched arm as he fell away slightly. Teammates mobbed him, thinking the clock had expired.

Upon review, 0.2 seconds remained, but that wasn't nearly enough time for the Spartans to answer with a three of their own. Ohio State held on for a 60-57 win, leading the game for just five total seconds.

What's next

Ohio State returns home to play Nebraska on Thursday. The Huskers defeated the Buckeyes 83-69 in Lincoln earlier this year. FS1 is set to broadcast the contest, which tips off at 6:30 p.m. in Value City Arena.

Game notes

  • Okpara has now blocked a shot in 34 consecutive games, six short of the Ohio State record of 40 set by Ken Johnson.
  • Freshman wing Scotty Middleton made his first career start in place of Battle, scoring three points in 22 minutes. Battle's status for Thursday is unclear.
  • The Buckeyes didn't make consecutive field goal attempts at any point in the first half.
  • Bonner entered Sunday shooting just 27.7% from three on the season, going 1-of-6 from downtown in Ohio State's last three games.
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