FINAL: MSU earns redemption against OSU 74-66
MSU men's basketball (16-10, 8-5 Big Ten) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten) on the two-year anniversary of former-MSU guard Denzel Valentine's game-winner on Valentine's Day, 74-66.
In its first game against OSU on Jan. 15, MSU played scared to a damaged Buckeyes team. Murmurs surfaced that OSU head coach Thad Matta was on the hot seat, and the Buckeyes stepped up for their coach. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle scored 22 points to carry the Buckeyes to a 72-67 victory — their first in the Big Ten.
This time around, MSU would answer the dinner bell, shooting 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc.
Senior guard Alvin Ellis III stole the heart of the Izzone, knocking down 3-pointer after 3-pointer. After his first two, it became muscle memory for Ellis, launching three more triples – hitting on all of them. With 12:06 left in the first half, Ellis had 15 points on 5-5 shooting from three and two rebounds.
Ellis has shown flashes of his scoring ability throughout the season. His best two-game stretch coming at Minnesota and at home against Northwestern. In those two games, Ellis scored 20 and 16 points respectively. He would finish with 18 points – all 6 being threes.
Out of the second half, MSU used their defense to spark their offense, freshman guard Joshua Langford taking a steal the other way for a layup. The Spartans would sting the Buckeyes with a quick 6-0 run to push their lead to 46-34.
However, the Buckeyes would not quit. After mounting a 7-0 run themselves, the Buckeyes remained in striking distance throughout the second half. A 12-2 run for MSU put it back up double digits.
With 1:32 left in the second half, Langford would show his best impersonation of Bridges, taking a miss by freshman forward Nick Ward into a high-flying putback slam.
OSU's Marc Loving would lead the Buckeyes in scoring with 22 points. Loving used his size to get to the rim, rising over the smaller guards for MSU.
Lyle was back on the attack for OSU after missing their previous game against Maryland because of a family emergency. In the first half, Lyle used his body strength and size to overpower the Spartan guards –scoring 10 points. In the second half, Lyle would be shushed by the MSU defense – failing to score.
Bridges would record his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
The fans found a new public enemy No. 1 in ESPN's Dan Dakich. After recent criticism of MSU fans on Twitter, Dakich was performing a stand-up video during a media timeout and the fans rained down the boos. Screaming and chanting at him, Dakich welcomed the chatter with a wave to the crowd before the game continued. With 2:46 left in the first half, the crowd exclaimed, "we hate Dakich" during Loving's free throw — he would miss.
MSU men's basketball will be on the road to face the Purdue Boilermakers on Feb. 18 at 4 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
Top Game Performers
Leaders for MSU:
Points- Ellis (18)
Rebounds- Bridges (11)
Assists- Winston (9)
Leaders for OSU:
Points- Loving (22)
Rebounds- Thompson and Lyle (5)
Assists- Lyle (5)