The temperature in East Lansing was one-below when the Big Ten battle between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan State tipped off. And inside the Breslin Center, Ohio State opened the contest with a shooting performance equal to the arctic air. Opening the contest making only two of their first 10 shots, the cold-shooting Buckeyes fell into an early 5-11 deficit.
But with a strong showing on the boards, and a stout showing from its fabled defense, Ohio State held the Spartans to 11 points for 13:13 to 9:10, Thad Matta's team held a 12-11 lead at the first half's halfway point.
From there it was a see-saw affair until the Spartans encountered a bit of breathing room in the final minute, entering the intermission on top, 28-21.
Leading Ohio State in the first half was Lenzelle Smith with seven points and six rebounds.
The Buckeyes are shooting 33% from the field, on 9-27 shooting, while the Spartans are firing at a 37% 11-29, clip. Ohio State holds a 21-15 edge in rebounding to neutralize their 10 turnovers compared to four for Michigan State. No Buckeye is in foul trouble to begin the second half with only Shannon Scott picking up two.