The Ohio State Buckeyes run in the Big Ten Tournament has come to and end. After defeating Indiana on Thursday in the Second Round, top-seeded Michigan State bested the Bucks, 77-70, at the United Center on Friday afternoon.
Michigan State got huge points off the bench from Foster Loyer. The Spartan made three three-pointers in the first half, and was a source of momentum for Tom Izzo’s squad. For the season, this is the third time MSU defeated OSU.
On top of the Loyer scoring barrage, Cassius Winston led the team in points and rebounds. The Big Ten Player of the Year put together a 18-point effort on 4-of-7 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. Winston also knocked down all nine of his free throws, too.
Ohio State, though, had scorers—and were within six at halftime. Keyshawn Woods had another big day in the scoring department, putting in a 10-point effort by the midway point of the game. When all was final, he had a team—leading 16 points.
Andre Wesson wasn’t too far behind Woods, ending the game with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Of those five made shots, four of them came from downtown.
The Buckeyes were still in the game in the second half, but when Kaleb Wesson fouled out, things began to unravel. The younger Wesson had seven points and three rebounds, and was a presence down low.
Turnovers also were a factor in this game for the Bucks. Off-target passes and picked dribbles led to the Spartans cashing in 20 points.
Let’s see how this one unfolded from the United Center.
A contested tip-off led to the ball bouncing toward the scorer’s table before it was saved by the Buckeyes. However, the opening shot from C.J. Jackson clanked off of the iron. But, OSU would strike first courtesy of a Kaleb Wesson layup, following a Cassius Winston turnover.
Xavier Tillman would quickly get the Spartans on the board with a layup of his own.
For the next four minutes, though, it was the Keyshawn Woods show. He scored eight straight points for the Buckeyes — two shots from downtown and one from near the baseline. Through all the Woods scoring, OSU held a lead by as many as four.
The Spartans would bring a group effort to stay competitive. Matt McQuaid, Nick Ward, Kenny Goins and Foster Loyer all knocked down shots to square things up at 15-15 with 9:41 remaining in the half.
At this juncture, Ohio State was weathering an MSU first half attack that was shooting over 50 percent from the field; additionally, the Bucks were managing well despite themselves —they had five fouls and seven turnovers.
For about six minutes, the teams stuck close to each other. Loyer was huge in Michigan State’s scoring campaign; after going 4-of-20 all season from downtown, the Spartan was 3-of-3 in the half.
Loyer wasn’t the only person on the floor making shots from deep. Andre Wesson buried two three-pointers, as did Jackson.
Things got chippy down low on a Michigan State possession, as Ward picked up a Flagrant 1 foul — elbowing Woods on the chin as he turned in for a layup. The referees went to the video review, and after a lengthy breather, Woods went to the line (and made) two free throws.
However, to close out the half, the Buckeyes went cold from the field. The final four minutes featured a 1-of-6 run from the field, with Duane Washington Jr. making the lone field goal (a three-pointer). On the flip side, the Spartans made their final four shots of the half, with Big Ten Player of the Year Winston making three of them.
At halftime, MSU led 36-30 behind a nine-point effort from Loyer. Overall, the Spartans made 64 percent (14-of-22) of their shots; Ohio State was making field goals at a 38 percent (10-of-26) clip. Even though he got popped in the chin, Woods was the scoring leader on the floor through 20 minutes, besting Loyer by a point (10).
The turnovers were a big reason for OSU being down midway through their quarterfinal clash. Ten times the ball was taken away, and MSU converted those miscues into 15 points. In comparison, the Spartans had six turnovers, leading to just five OSU points.
After the halftime break, Ohio State got things going. Kaleb Wesson, who had just two points in the first half, equaled his total with a layup not even in minute into the second period. The Spartans treaded back to a six-point lead following a Aaron Henry layup, but were about go into a deficit — thanks to the Wesson brothers.
Thanks to an assist from Andre, Musa Jallow slammed the ball home. Then, both brothers splashed three-pointers, putting OSU up 40-38 just a little over three minutes into the half.
However, the Spartans clawed back with free throws. Fouls sent Matt McQuaid to the line four times, and he made all four shots. The Loyer Show also took off again, as he buried a three. The Buckeyes’ lead was erased — and now they trailed by seven with nearly 15 minutes left in regulation.
A Woods make and a Jackson-to-Kyle Young alley-oop kept the game within two possessions. But the Spartans’ three-point shooting came in clutch when it mattered. Goins knocked down a three on the near wing to push their lead back up to eight, 54-46. That was the first made three-ball from a Spartan not named Loyer.
Then, when the clocked ticked right under 10 minutes, a missed Washington fade-away led to a fast break Winston-to-Henry layup. MSU had the first double digit lead of the day, 56-46, at 9:57.
The Buckeyes’ comeback was about to get harder, as Kaleb Wesson picked up his fifth foul after making contact following a rebound. Early in the second half, a flagrant foul on Wesson — at around the 16-minute mark — sparked a 17-6 Spartan run. Now out of the game, MSU started to pull away.
Following a Jallow three-pointer, Winston had a rebuttal three connect too. However, he was fouled on the shot; he made his free throw — pushing the lead to 61-49. A Jackson miss led to a transition alley-oop from Winston to Henry, and all the momentum to the top-seeded team in the Big Ten.
In a blink of an eye, the Spartans’ lead ballooned to 20 points. The cast of characters (Ward, Winston, Goins, Henry, Tillman) all added points, and were too much for the Buckeyes to hand. Ohio State was able to close the gap, going on a 16-2 run to end the game.
While the loss ends Ohio State’s journey in the conference tournament, the win against Indiana helped their NCAA Tournament résumé. A win certainly would’ve helped, but as thing stand, the Bucks are in good enough shape to punch their ticket to the Big Dance next week.
The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be on Sunday, and we’ll have you covered on where and when Ohio State plays.