The furious push for a spot in the NCAA Tournament continues for Michigan State.
The Spartans used a remarkable close to the game to knock off No. 4 Ohio State, 71-67, at the Breslin Center on Thursday for their third straight victory and second in a row over a top-five team after beating Illinois on Tuesday. Michigan State now heads to Maryland on Sunday with a spot in the tournament now looking like a real possibility just a week after it looked like there was no chance.
Henry scored four points in the final minutes as Michigan State turned a three-point deficit into a lead it wouldn’t relinquish as Joshua Langford hit a huge jumper with 30 seconds to play and Malik Hall hit two big free throws to help seal the victory as Ohio State missed its last eight shots.
E.J. Liddell scored 18 to lead Ohio State (18-6, 12-6) while Duane Washington Jr. added 17, C.J. Walker scored 12 and Justice Sueing had 10 points.
The Spartans got off to another quick start, opening the game by building a quick 11-6 lead. However, the turnovers and fouls started piling up as Ohio State made 10 of its first 14 shots of the game and eventually retook the lead and pushed its advantage to 22-17 on a jumper from Zed Key with 10:23 left in the half.
Michigan State was able to rally, and when Brown hit a jumper from the elbow with 6:30 to play, the game was tied at 27. The Buckeyes started hitting from long range, though, getting a pair of triples from Sueing and Walker as they took a 35-29 lead, its biggest at that point.
The Spartans scored the next four to pull within two, but they failed to score a point for the final 3:06 of the half as the Buckeyes took advantage to take a 38-33 lead into the locker room at halftime as Henry and Langford each sat for large chunks of the half with two fouls each.
Michigan State chipped away early in the second half and tied the game at 40 after Langford hit a couple of free throws. But the Ohio State scored the next nine points as the Spartans suffered through a miserable stretch of shooting, making only one field goal in the first seven minutes of the half and missing 13 of 14 shots at one point.Get the Detroit News Sports newsletter in your inbox.
A Henry jumper ended the run as the Spartans slowly started to get the offense moving. Brown followed with a jumper before Langford and Julius Marble also scored. Henry then hit a runner to pull Michigan State within 53-50 and cut that margin down to two by splitting a pair of free throws with 7:49 to play.
The Spartans tied it up at 55 and at 57, but the Buckeyes scored four in a row before Joey Hauser’s 3-pointer with 4:25 to play pulled Michigan State within 61-60. Ohio State pushed the lead to 63-60 before Michigan State scored the next six, taking a 66-63 lead with less than a minute to play.
Ohio State pulled within one but Langford buried a deep jumper to push the lead back to three. However, Langford was called for a foul at the other end and Liddell hit two free throws to cut the MSU lead to one, but the Spartans got a key stop and put the game away at the line.©2021 www.dispatch.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.