Ohio State had battled the tough Michigan State home crowd and an even tougher Spartans team all night, but with the seconds ticking down, the Buckeyes had a chance to tie the game.Instead of going to the hottest hand on the team in Deshaun Thomas, Shannon Scott threw up an off-balanced 3-pointer that had no chance of going in as the Buckeyes fell 59-56 in East Lansing.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was happy to see Scott take the final shot instead of Thomas, "I was relieved."Thomas scored 28 points, connecting on a career-high six 3-pointers Saturday night, but that wasn’t enough to get a victory as Ohio State dropped its fourth game of the season.
Outside of Thomas, the Buckeyes (13-4, 3-2 Big Ten) had no other player score more than six points. Thomas connected on 50 percent of his shots from the field (10-20), but the rest of the team shot just 33 percent against the Spartans (16-3, 5-1).On that final play, the plan was to get the ball to Thomas, according to Thad Matta, "Michigan State knew we were going to go to [Thomas]. We would've liked to have got it to him there."In the first half, it was a game of runs. The Buckeyes missed five of their first six shots in the first half and turned the ball over five times as the Spartans rushed out to a 13-2 lead. “We got down early in the game. That’s just as important as that last play,” Aaron Craft said.Ohio State started connecting on 3-pointers, though, and answered back with 15 unanswered points to take capture a four-point lead. The Spartans went over seven minutes without scoring a point, but bounced back with a 9-2 run to retake the lead. After going back and forth, the Spartans ended the half with six straight points to take a 30-26 lead into intermission.Ohio State connected on three consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead early in the second half, but Michigan State retook the lead after a Brandon Dawson layup moments later.The Spartans never trailed after that point.Ohio State played it tough, though, battling back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 50 with two minutes remaining. That’s when the Spartans forced the ball inside, squeezing out just enough offense to hold off the stubborn Buckeyes.“It was a war, and we survived it,” Izzo Said.Matta added, "You've got what I would consider -- I don't want to step out of bounds -- two of the top college basketball programs going head to head. I've brought some great teams in here."The Buckeyes will get a chance to avenge the loss next month when the Spartans travel to Columbus.Who’s Next?Ohio State will host the Iowa Hawkeyes on Tuesday, January 22. The game tips off at 6:30 p.m. EST and will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
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