clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State battles but comes up empty in East Lansing in season finale, 84-78

Ohio State still has not won in East Lansing since 2011. Some things never change!

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday afternoon Ohio State had the chance to end the regular season on a three-game winning streak, spoil someone’s senior day, and also deny a team that already beat them a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

The catch? That team is Michigan State, who already beat the Buckeyes by 21 this season. On top of that, head coach Chris Holtmann had never won at Breslin leading into today’s game. The streak extends beyond Holtmann’s tenure, though — the Buckeyes haven’t won at Breslin since March of 2011.

And after 40 minutes of grueling basketball in front of a nearly sold-out crown in East Lansing, we learned that the aforementioned streak is going to extend at least one more year, with the Spartans downing the Buckeyes 84-78. The Buckeyes fell behind by a bunch early, gave MSU a scare late, but eventually watched it slip just out of reach. A.J. Hoggard led Michigan State with 23 points on 6-11 shooting over 30 minutes. He also had three rebounds, seven assists, and one steal. Brice Sensabaugh led the Buckeyes with 21 points over 30 minutes. Bruce Thornton had 20 as well.

Ohio State stuck with the same starting five they’ve been rolling with since Zed Key went down with a shoulder injury. Thornton started at guard alongside Roddy Gayle. Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing were the starting forwards, with Felix Okpara — coming off his first career double-double — at center.

Honoring their seniors, Tom Izzo went with a starting five of Tyson Walker, Jason Whitens, Hoggard, Malik Hall, and Joey Hauser.

The Spartans jumped ahead in the first few minutes. After Sueing’s right-handed layup made it 4-2 Ohio State one minute into the game, MSU went on an 8-0 run to go ahead 10-4 and force the Buckeyes to call timeout. Hall missed each of his first two three-point attempts, but his third try in the opening minutes dropped from the right wing to make it 10-4, and the crowd erupted for the senior three minutes into the game.

The Spartans used a 15-0 run to put Ohio State down 13 early, but the Buckeyes scored on three of four possessions after that to get back within 10 by the nine-minute mark. Sueing hit a baseline jumper to get the Bucks back within eight after that, but Sensabaugh left Hauser wide open on the following possession for the easiest three of his life, which he nailed. The Spartans led 25-14 at the under-eight media timeout with 7:59 left in the first half.

The Buckeyes kept the Spartans on their heels a bit trying to make it a one-possession game in the first half, but could not get it back to that point after the 16-minute mark. Ohio State cut the deficit to four points more than once, but went into the halftime locker room trailing Michigan State 43-34. The Spartans shot 56.7% in the first half and knocked down 8 of their 14 threes, good for 57.1%. Ohio State, conversely, shot 44% overall in the first half and knocked down four of their 10 tries from deep.

The two teams traded baskets early in the second half, with the Spartans hitting four of their first five and Ohio State knocking down five of their first six. Michigan State’s held a 54-46 lead at the under-16 media timeout with 15:42 remaining in the game. The Ohio State offense looked well-equipped to win this game, but the defense continued to lag.

The teams continued to go tit-for-tat during the second half, with Michigan State’s lead hovering between six and nine points down the stretch. Ohio State would cut it to six or seven, and MSU would answer and push it back to nine or 10. A Sean McNeil three — his second of the game — got Ohio State back within 64-57 with 7:55 left in the game.

Thornton knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the game to get the Buckeyes back within three points with five minutes remaining, but the Buckeyes just weren’t able to overcome that early hole they put themselves in the first half, as they ultimately fell to the Spartans on senior day in East Lansing.

If you weren’t around today to catch Ohio State’s season finale at MSU, here are a few key moments and runs that ultimately helped propel the Spartans to a win on senior day:

Third time’s the charm for Hall

Malik Hall entered today’s game as a 40% three-point shooter this season, but missed each of his first two tries in the early going. The crowd badly wanted to cheer for their four-year senior guard, but he clanked each of the first two tries. But with Michigan State in the middle of a 5-0 run, Hall knocked his third try down in transition to put the Spartans up 10-4 at the 16:22 mark of the first half.

Spartans go on 15-0 run to put Buckeyes behind the 8-ball

After going up 4-2 in the first minute of the game, Ohio State then proceeded to miss their next eight shots while Michigan State knocked down six of their next 11. This equated to a 15-0 MSU run over the course of 6:30 of game time, putting the Spartans up 17-4 by the 13-minute mark. Okpara scored over the top of Kohler one minute later to make it 17-6 and officially end the Buckeyes’ lengthy cold streak.

Sueing cuts the deficit back to single digits

After Sensabaugh left Hauser wide open for an easy three to put the Spartans up 11, Sueing went down to the other end and was fouled by Hauser at the basket. He knocked down both free throws to get OSU back within 25-16 — the first time trailing by single digits in over seven minutes.

Sueing went on to finish the day with 10 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists over 34 minutes — not far from a triple-double. After the game, Chris Holtmann said Sueing was “phenomenal” and “did everything” for Ohio State. Sueing also had two steals on the defensive end.

Hall answers Ohio State’s run with his own

Trailing 25-16 with roughly eight minutes left in the first half, the Buckeyes followed Sueing’s free throws with five more points — a dunk from Okpara and a three from McNeil — to get back within four points.

However, Hall answered the Buckeyes’ run with a little 5-0 run of his own, scoring on back-to-back possessions to put the Spartans up 30-21 with 5:28 remaining in the first half. Hall went on to finish with 10 points on 4-8 shooting over 28 minutes. He also had three rebounds and one block.

Buckeyes hit their first four shots of the second half, cut MSU lead to six

Ohio State came out of the locker room and looked for Sensabaugh right away to start the second half, with the freshman wing knocking down back-to-back three-pointers to bring MSU’s lead down to six. Gayle also got Hauser to bite on a shot fake and drive from the left corner, forcing Izzo to call timeout after the Buckeyes started the half making each of their first four shots.

However, the Spartans hit three of their first four themselves, and still led 50-44 2:45 into the second stanza.

Walker’s transition layup puts Spartans up a dozen

After Thornton’s third three-pointer of the day got Ohio State back within seven points with 14:35 left, Hauser canned a triple from the corner to put the Spartans back up 10. After McNeil missed a three on the other end, Walker sprinted in transition and scored over Thornton and Gene Brown to make it 61-49 Michigan State with just under 12 minutes remaining in the game. Walker finished the game with 15 points (7-15 shooting) over 35 minutes. He also had six assists and three rebounds.

Thornton’s three makes it a one-possession game

The Buckeyes fell behind by a dozen points with 12 minutes remaining in the game, but went on a 15-6 run over the next five-plus minutes to get right back in it. Thornton knocked down his fourth three-pointer of the day with 5:28 remaining to get the Buckeyes back within three points, 67-64.

Thornton continued his great play down the stretch. He finished the game with 20 points on 7-15 shooting over 33 minutes. He was 4-8 from long range, and also had two rebounds, one assist, and one steal. He turned the ball over once.

Up Next:

Ohio State (13-18, 5-15) has three days off before beginning play Wednesday night in the Big Ten Tournament as the 13-seed. They will face off with the 12-seed, which is yet to be determined. Ohio State could wind up facing Penn State, Wisconsin, or Nebraska, depending on how those three teams do in their final game of the season. Ohio State’s first-round BTT game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. ET.