Tonight’s B1G collision between Ohio State and Michigan State further proves that the top tier team that wins the most games on the road will win the conference championship. Two very even teams battled at the Breslin Center on Saturday night, but it was the home team that played with more poise, control and urgency in the fourth quarter in a nail-biting 59-56 win.
The Buckeyes became comfortable with shooting from long range, hoisting up 25 threes and leaned on their offensive leader Deshuan Thomas to keep themselves in this one throughout the game. The Train would finish with a player of the year like performance. He had 28 points on six threes and 10/20 shooting overall to pace Ohio State. His fifth straight game of 20 points or more.
Despite hanging tough throughout the night, things didn’t look pretty early for the Bucks early.
In the first seven minutes, Ohio State turned the ball over five times and looked lost as Michigan State’s Derick Nix and Adriean Payne capitalized for 8 of the fightin’ Izzo’s 12 points. After a long Travis Trice rebound, the Spartans got the Izzone fired up with a solid finish with a Brandon Dawson finish. On the next possession Dawson would corral a steal, and get to the line on a breakaway. He would sink one from the stripe to give Michigan State a 13-2 lead.
With just under thirteen minutes to go in the half, the Buckeye offense exploded on the perimeter. Led by their biggest offensive weapon. The wheels got moving under the D-Train, as the Ohio State offense would go on an 11-0 run with back to back to back threes. Two Deshaun Thomas bombs sandwiched a beautiful look from Aaron Craft that closed the lead to 13-11.
Both teams would battle back and forth in the final five minutes of the frame. After going scoreless for nearly seven Minutes, Michigan State got to the rack on the back of their point guard Keith Appling.
With Aaron Craft making Derrick Nix and Travis Trice look foolish by blowing past them by them in the paint to give the Buckeyes a 26-4 lead with just under two minutes to play in the first half — Appling took offense.
After back to back buckets by the senior leader, Michigan State went into the locker room up four — 30-26.