A surging Michigan State club somehow prevailed in a tight Big Ten showdown Thursday night on its home floor, sending the Buckeyes back to Columbus with consecutive losses for the first time this season.
*Ohio State controlled the initial stretch after intermission, moving the lead to 49-40 and forcing Tim Izzo to burn a timeout. The game, at that point, actually felt more lopsided than it was on the scoreboard.
*The Spartans went on a 15-6 run to draw even, 55-55, by the 6:43 mark. E.J. Liddell scored six-straight points for Ohio State, but the hosts eventually took their first lead of the game (64-63) on two free throws from Malik Hall with 2:32 remaining. MSU never trailed again.
*Ohio State missed all six remaining shots from the field moving forward, five of those from Duane Washington. He had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, trailing 69-67, but missed a layup through heavy contact. Chris Holtmann was ejected after receiving his second technical following the sequence.
*Ohio State had three shot-clock violations on the night. One of those occurred in the first half when Duane Washington appeared to have released a long heave in time... that banked in.
*The Buckeyes, who won the initial showdown 79-62 earlier this season in Columbus, were looking to beat Michigan State twice in a season for the first time since 2012-13. Ohio State has now lost 11 of 12 against Sparty.
*Liddell and Washington combined for 35 points, more than half of OSU’s total, but weren’t all that efficient. The duo combined to shoot 11 of 29 from the field.
*C.J. Walker had 12 points and five assists off the bench.
*Neither side shot well from behind the arc, combining to go 8 of 29 throughout the evening.
*Aaron Henry was fantastic for the home side, especially down the stretch. He tied Liddell with a game-high 18, going 7 of 11 from the floor while also contributing four rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals.
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