Wednesday, October 20, 2021

FINAL: MSU 71, OSU 67, Spartans overthrow No. 4 Buckeyes

February 25, 2021
<p>Players wrestle for the ball during the MSU men&#x27;s basketball game against OSU at the Breslin Center on Feb. 25, 2021.</p>

Players wrestle for the ball during the MSU men's basketball game against OSU at the Breslin Center on Feb. 25, 2021.

Photo by Alyte Katilius | The State News

Just like that, the streak of 22 straight NCAA Tournament appearances stays alive.

After a game mostly in limbo — the Michigan State men’s basketball (13-9, 7-9 Big Ten) team has overthrown another AP Top-5 team.

A free throw by Joshua Langford sealed the deal in the final seconds, shoving MSU higher up in the Big Ten standings and watering the flower that is their postseason dreams with a 71-67 win over Ohio State.

MSU led the game early on, Aaron Henry showing up in all the right places and shooting 71% from the field in the first 10 minutes of the game. But OSU wasn’t letting them slide by that easily as Henry clocked seven points within just the first five minutes of the first half, but after picking up a pair of fouls, he was benched along with Langford as both had two fouls in the first half.

But, it sure wasn't over.

In the beginning, everything seemed to be going wrong for MSU. Down with nine turnovers and 11 fouls in 20 minutes, the Spartans had lost that stamina we’d seen against both Indiana and No. 5 Illinois. With Air balls and rim bounces, the net was not having it tonight.

Gabe Brown did his best to carry, but one man can only do so much. The Spartans were in drought.

But coach Tom Izzo knew what he was doing. The Spartans discovered the four guard lineup that had helped them through three games and allowed a comeback in the midst of a disappointing season.

OSU was visibly frustrated after some reviewed plays, but with the help of Rocket Watts and freshman A.J. Hoggard, MSU had pulled within five points by halftime with promise for the remainder. The largest lead of the night was nine points by OSU.

Brown finished with 11 points, going 4-for-6 from the field. Henry broke double figures with 12:30 left in the second half, finishing with 18 points and going 7-for-11 from the field.

Watts and Hoggard added a combined 11 points, Marcus Bingham Jr. scored another eight and Joey Hauser posted eight himself.

Overall, the Spartans shot 48% from the field, 27% from 3-point land and 76% from the line. In the final stretch, MSU made nine of their last 11 shots and kept OSU in a drought, where the Buckeyes could only score from free throws.

Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell led the way for the Buckeyes, coming out with a total of 18 points and going 4-for-13 from the field. He was backed up by fellow Buckeye guard Duane Washington Jr., who laid out 17 points himself, as well as forward Justice Sueing and guard CJ Walker, who laid out 22 points together.

The only other Buckeye to score decent figures, at eight points, was forward Zed Key. OSU Head Coach Chris Holtmann was ejected in the final seconds due to technicals.

With four games left in their quick-turnaround, end-of-season schedule, the Spartans are set to jet to College Park, Maryland, on Sunday, Feb. 28 to battle the Terrapins. Tipoff at the Xfinity Center is 2 p.m. on CBS.

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