The Buckeyes overcame a sluggish first half to push past Michigan State and advance to the Big Ten tourney title game for a fifth season in a row and seventh time in eight years. Is there any doubt who is the best program in the Big Ten? Of course not. OSU hit just 34 percent of its shots in the first half but rebounded to knock down 52 percent in the second half.
The Buckeyes had just two players in double-figures, but they were biggies. Aaron Craft had a game-high 20 points, while Deshaun Thomas notched 16. The other Buckeyes combined for 25 points. Since that brutal 22-point loss to Wisconsin in Madison, Ohio State is 7-0.
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Key moment: With 1:27 left and Ohio State clinging to a 57-56 lead, MSU big man Derrick Nix was whistled for an intentional foul. By the time the Spartans got the ball back, they trailed, 60-56, with less than 20 seconds left. The game essentially was over.
Key player: Aaron Craft was just 1-of-2 for two points in the first half, as the Buckeyes trailed, 29-28. But Craft carried Ohio State in the second half with a Herculean effort. The junior connected on 8-of-11 shots and 18 points to help push the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title game for the fifth season in a row.
Key number: 5, turnovers committed by Ohio State. That was key to their victory today over Michigan State. Conversely, the Spartans had 12 turnovers that led to 11 points for the Buckeyes.
What’s next: The Buckeyes will play Wisconsin for the Big Ten championship on Sunday. Ohio State will be aiming for a fifth league tourney title. The teams met twice this season, with each winning on their home court.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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