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Ohio State falters in second half, loses to Michigan State 62-44

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After leading by six at halftime, things fell apart down the stretch for the Buckeyes.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

After a 3-0 start to the month, February has turned sour for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Chris Holtmann’s squad fell 62-44 to Michigan State on the road, and have now lost two straight games.

At halftime, it seemed like the Bucks were on the right track for a very good road win after suffering a very bad home loss earlier in the week to Illinois. But the Spartans outscored the visitors 37-13 in the second half, and paced out to the 18-point win.

In the loss, Kaleb Wesson led OSU with 12 points and nine rebounds. Foul trouble wasn’t a problem this time around for Kaleb, as he ended the game with just one whistle against him.

However, turnovers and low offensive production doomed the Buckeyes in this national televised contest. After shooting 40 percent from the field in the first half, Ohio State shot an abysmal 19 percent in the second half. Outside of Kaleb, no other Buckeye scored more than three points in the final 20 minutes of action. OSU took care of the ball in the first half, only turning it over four times. But in the second half, they committed 11 TOs. Those 15 turnovers led to 16 Spartan points, and fueled the second half rally for the No. 11 team in the country.

C.J. Jackson ended the game with eight points, four rebounds and two assists, and was one of the more efficient players on the floor for OSU. Ending the game with plus/minus margin of +6, he and Kyle Young (+1) were the only members of Holtmann’s squad to be on the positive side of the margin.

Specifically, things went catastrophic in the final eight minutes. With 7:40 left, this game was all squared at 42-42. However, the Buckeyes failed to make a single shot from the field in that timespan. On the other end, MSU ended the game on a 20-2 run.

The Spartans made big shots beyond the arc, going 10-of-26 from three-point range for the game. Matt Mcquaid led the scoring efforts for Tom Izzo’s team with 14 points. He wasn’t the only with double-digit scoring; Cassius Winston ended the game with 13 points and Kenny Goins ended with 10.

Let’s take a look at how this one went down at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.


Ohio State won the tip, but their opening possession ended with a missed Kaleb Wesson layup. After a missed three-pointer from Kenny Goins, and another miss by the younger Wesson brother, Nick Ward started off the scoring for the game with a jumper that rolled around the rim before sinking.

Even though Kaleb missed a couple shots at the beginning, he got OSU’s first bucket of the day. The second bucket, coming at the 17:03 mark of the half, came courtesy of his older brother, Andre Wesson.

Before getting to the first media timeout, points were coming at a premium. The Spartans went over three minutes without a point—going 0-for-4 from the field during the span. On the other end, Luther Muhammad and C.J. Jackson had shots rejected, and the team was collectively shooting 2-of-9 from the field. However, the Bucks led 4-2 with 15:39 remaining.

Out of the media break, Jackson knocked down a three pointer. Sparty would counter with a three-point play of their own after a fastbreak lead to Nick Ward making a layup—and connecting on the and-1 free throw.

Duane Washington Jr. got in on the scoring, hitting a three of his own. Kaleb put home a coupe layups to pace OSU out to a 14-5 lead.

MSU would close the cap after a jumper from Xavier Tillman, three-pointer from Matt Mcquaid and another make from Ward. However, the Bucks held the advantage at the second media timeout, 16-12.

While the shooting wasn’t spectacular, the ball handling from both teams was pretty good through the first 10:06. Only one turnover was committed (on Jackson before the media TO) by either side.

Right after the under-12 media break, MSU had a careless over-and-back turnover; that mistake led directly to an alley-oop from Andre to Kyle Young.

A scoring slump (lasting over four minutes) and a second turnover allowed MSU to get the lead. An 8-0 run brought the home team to a 20-18 advantage, and led to Chris Holtmann burning a timeout.

The timeout proved to be helpful, as a Kaleb tip-in, Andre layup in traffic, and a one-handed jumper by Muhammad were part of a 6-0 run to reclaim the lead. Winston made a three on the other end, but at the under-4 break, it was the Buckeyes up by one, 24-23.

The lead went back and forth over the next few minutes. Nick Ward had free throws fall, and Musa Jallow had a three. But, Ohio State closed out the half with a 7-0 run. Jackson had a layup over Tillman, and a stolen inbound by Andre Wesson drained clock. Young’s layup with 1:15 remaining would be the last score of the half—giving OSU the 31-25 lead against the No. 11 team in the country.

At halftime, both teams had four turnovers apiece. The Scarlet and Gray were shooting at a 41 percent clip (14/35) and were 50 percent (3/6) from three-point range. MSU made 31 percent of their shots (9/29) over the first 20 minutes of action.

Out of halftime, scoring was once again coming at a premium. After nearly five minutes of action, the Bucks had just one point (a Washington free throw). Sparty had five points, but still trailed at the under-16 media timeout, 32-30.

Both teams battled for the lead, and traded the lead as the clock got below 12 minutes. Scoring came from all directions. Keyshawn Woods, Kaleb Wesson and Young got buckets for the Buckeyes; Mcquaid, Tillman and Cassius Winston got scores for the home team. Unlike past media timeouts, the Spartans had the lead, 39-38.

And the Spartans would hold the lead for a couple minutes. Even though OSU went nearly four minutes without a field goal make, Kaleb Wesson’s connection on a layup tied the game at 39-39 with 9:40 remaining in regulation. Both teams broke their shooting slumps with three pointers. Kenny Goins connected from downtown for Sparty; Jackson, who appeared to be hurt, rattled a shot from Steph Curry range on the near wing; and Kyle Ahrens got MSU back up by three with a deep ball of his own. At the under-8, OSU found themselves down 45-42.

From here, things quickly began to unravel for the Buckeyes. Goins made a basket down low, and Mcquaid buried another three after a Kaleb Wesson turnover. Then a Woods turnover led to Thomas Kithier getting points on the board. All of this was part of a 10-0 Sparty run that lasted over three minutes. Kithier’s foul of Kaleb sent him to the line, where he split free throws. But the damage was done. With 3:47 left in the game, Ohio State trailed 52-43.

A combination of five minutes without a basket and five turnovers within a 5:32 window led to Michigan State getting out to their largest lead of the game (12 points). Down 56-43 with just under two minutes remaining, a Woods travel sealed the Buckeyes’ fate.

Up next for Ohio State is Northwestern. The Buckeyes will get the Wildcats on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on BTN.