No. 20 Michigan St outlasts No. 5 Ohio St 107-105 in 3 OTs
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) After a while, Michigan State guard Tori Jankoska had the same thought as everybody watching.
''It felt like it was never going to end,'' she said.
In the last minute of the third overtime, Jankoska helped the 20th-ranked Spartans finally outlast No. 5 Ohio State, making three free throws down the stretch to give Michigan State a 107-105 victory. Jasmine Hines scored a career-high 36 points in her final home game, and the Spartans denied the Buckeyes a chance to celebrate a Big Ten title Saturday.
Kelsey Mitchell scored a career-high 48 points for Ohio State (23-6, 15-3), which is on the verge of losing the conference championship in agonizing fashion. The Buckeyes also lost in overtime to Minnesota earlier in the week, and now they need No. 6 Maryland (26-3, 15-2) to lose to Minnesota on Sunday in order to share the title.
''We had a chance to control our destiny today and we didn't do it, so that's disappointing,'' Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. ''But I'm proud of the effort that our kids put forth.''
Mitchell played almost every second of the 55-minute game, one of five players credited with at least 52 minutes. Her three-point play put Ohio State up 105-104 with 41 seconds remaining, but Jankoska was fouled in the backcourt and made two free throws to put the Spartans (22-7, 13-5) back ahead.
Jankoska added another free throw with 2 seconds left.
The 6-foot-3 Hines had never scored more than 24 points in a game for Michigan State, but the Spartans repeatedly found the senior down low against an Ohio State team that defended aggressively with a full-court press.
Hines scored inside with 8 seconds left in the first overtime to tie it at 83, and Mitchell couldn't convert at the other end. It was Hines who kept Michigan State's offense afloat on a day star Aerial Powers went 8 of 27 from the field. Powers still ended up with quite a stat line: 23 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, eight turnovers, four steals and two blocks in 53 minutes.
With the Spartans up 106-105, Powers stole the ball from Mitchell and looked like she was in the clear for a layup, but she was too concerned about being caught from behind and lost the ball out of bounds at the last instant, giving Ohio State another chance to take the lead.
Michigan State kept Mitchell from driving to the basket, and her two attempts from beyond the arc were off target. Jankoska's free throw made it a two-point game, and she missed her second shot intentionally, giving the Buckeyes little time to get any kind of shot off.
Ohio State has not won the Big Ten regular-season title since 2010. The last time the Buckeyes won the conference tournament was in 2011.
''We weren't going to let anyone come in here and win a Big Ten championship on our floor,'' Hines said.
Neither team led by more than eight points. Powers missed a jumper in the final seconds of regulation with the score tied at 72.
Ohio State led by four late in the second overtime, but Branndais Agee and Jankoska made 3-pointers for Michigan State to tie it at 94 and force a third OT.
Jankoska's shot came when she spun away from a defender near the top of the key on what was basically a broken play.
''It was absolutely a debacle,'' she said. ''It's supposed to be for me, so I just went and got the ball, spun, saw an opening and took it.''
Three Ohio State players and one Michigan State player fouled out, and the Spartans had two more with four fouls at the end. Spartans coach Suzy Merchant was glad the game didn't go to a fourth overtime.
''I don't know if we would have had one more in us, with the foul trouble that we had,'' she said.
Ohio State: Mitchell's previous career high was 42 points. She finished Saturday's game with eight rebounds, five assists and 10 turnovers.
Michigan State: Jankoska scored 20 points. ... The Spartans lost 85-80 at Ohio State on Dec. 31.
Ohio State will be seeded either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan State will be the No. 3 seed.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister