BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s filed stories from Indianapolis for every tourney game and you can find his take on Sunday’s championship game inside this post plus full recaps, videos, and more.
Tom Dienhart’s key Ohio State player: Jared Sullinger. He did his best, leading the Buckeyes with 18 points and grabbing eight boards. But it wasn’t enough, as Ohio State shot poorly (39 percent) and hit just four three-pointers. The loss ends the Buckeyes’ run of two Big Ten tourney titles in a row.
Tom Dienhart’s key Michigan State player: Brandon Wood. Yes, Brandon Wood, who is on his fourth college—if you could junior colleges (Southern Illinois, JC, Valparaiso, Michigan State). He paced the Spartans with 21 points, hitting eight-of-14 shots and four-of-eight from three-point range. Good thing, because Draymond Green was off his game, connecting on only four-of-14 shots for just 12 points, but he did have eight rebounds to help MSU win its first Big Ten tourney crown since 2000. That’s also the last time the Spartans won the national title. Hmmm.
Tom Dienhart’s key moment? At the 14:06 mark of the second half, Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas took a pass from Aaron Craft and nailed a three-pointer to give the Buckeyes a 52-45 lead. But that’s when momentum swung to Michigan State. The Spartans outscored the Buckeyes, 23-12, the rest of the way to claim victory in a game that featured 16 lead changes and was one of the best—if not THE best—title games in Big Ten tourney annals.
What’s next for Ohio State? The Buckeyes still will get a good seed in the Big Dance. And they should be plenty motivated to make a deep run after this loss and last year’s exit in the Sweet 16. This is a very good team.
What’s next for Michigan State? The Spartans may have sewn up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney with the victory. Even if they don’t, MSU enters the Big Dance with lots of momentum, winning three games in a row in Indianapolis after finishing the regular season with consecutive losses. Bottom line: The Spartans may be primed for a deep run in March, as Tom Izzo’s crew looks for its seventh Final Four trip and second national title under his stewardship.
FINAL RECAP: In a game featuring several runs by both teams, No. 8 Michigan State outlasted No. 7 Ohio State 68-64 in an upset on Sunday in the Big Ten Tourney. There were 16 lead changes in the game.
Ohio State (27-7) had a rough night from the free throw line, shooting 67 percent (10-of-15).
Even in defeat, Aaron Craft came through for the Buckeyes with 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
Brandon Wood sparked Michigan State (27-7), as he scored 21 points and went 8-of-14 from the field for the Spartans in the game. Derrick Nix had a quality shooting game, nailing 4-of-5 shots from the field and scoring 10 points. Michigan State hit 48 percent of its field goals (26-of-54). The Spartans shot 9-of-21 from three-point range during the game, good for 43 percent. Michigan State also got a double-digit game from Draymond Green, who scored 12.
Ohio State crashed the offensive glass effectively, grabbing 14 offensive boards. The Buckeyes also got double-digit efforts from Lenzelle Smith Jr., who scored 10, Jared Sullinger, who scored 18, and Deshaun Thomas and William Buford, who each scored 11.
Ohio State won the battle on the boards in the loss, as the Buckeyes pulled down 35 to 27 for the Spartans.
HALFTIME RECAP: Nobody has assumed control of the game yet as No. 8 Michigan State and No. 7 Ohio State have traded the lead 12 times in the first half. At the moment the Spartans lead 34-32. Michigan State led 7-2 when the Buckeyes went on an 8-0 run to take a three-point lead.
Eight Michigan State players scored in the first half.
Ohio State made 13 of 23 two-point shots in the first half, but shot 0-of-6 from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes applied the pressure in the first half, earning second-chance opportunities with six offensive rebounds, to just three for the Spartans.
Michigan State’s Derrick Nix already has six points. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft had a big first half, with six points and five rebounds.
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