Michigan State faces a tough road test with a 4 p.m. game today against Ohio State. Follow the action here with live updates by Matt Charboneau of The Detroit News.
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Michigan State hadn’t lost consecutive games all season, and early in the first half on Sunday it looked like it would keep that streak alive.
However, after Michigan State took a nine-point lead early in the half, Ohio State went on a 24-5 run, eventually taking a 10-point lead on its way to a 68-60 victory at Value City Arena.
Aaron Craft scored 21 points and handed out six assists for No. 18 Ohio State (20-7, 10-5 Big Ten) and helped spark the run. After Adreian Payne had put Michigan State ahead, 36-27, early in the second half, Craft went to work. He routinely beat the Michigan State defense on the ball screens and converted several layups while the Ohio State shooters started heating up.
Deshaun Thomas scored 14 for the Buckeyes, hitting two big 3-pointers during the run.
No. 4 Michigan State (22-6, 11-4) cut the lead to two in the final three minutes of the game but couldn’t get over the hump. Gary Harris scored 14 for the Spartans while Payne added 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Michigan State has started to click offensively again, but it simply can do nothing to stop Ohio State on the defensive end at this point.
Aaron Craft has 16 points and six assists and is carving up the Spartans, especially guard Keith Appling, who has struggled the entire game. Deshaun Thomas now has 13 points but is just 4-for-15 from the field.
Ohio State is also in control despite 19 turnovers to 14 for Michigan State.
A game that looked like Michigan State was in control of early in the second half quickly changed as Ohio State put together a 24-5 run to turn a nine-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
Aaron Craft started beating the Michigan State defense on the ball screen and converting layups and kicking out to open shooters who started burying 3-pointers.
Craft has 12 points while the Buckeyes have four 3-pointers in the second half.
Ohio State is in the midst of an 18-4 run and has taken a five-point lead with 11:54 to play in the game. Deshaun Thomas is starting to heat up and has two 3-pointers this half while Aaron Craft has been beating the Michigan State defense consistently.
What was once a quiet, dull crowd has erupted. Michigan State, which once looked like ti was pulling away, is in danger of letting this game get out of hand.
Michigan State opened the second half strong, pushing its lead to nine points, only to watch Ohio State — or Aaron Craft more specifically — virtually eliminate the deficit.
Craft beat the Michigan State defense for three layups with a 3-pointer from Deshaun Thomas sandwiched in as the Buckeyes cut the Spartans’ lead to two before Adreian Payne made it 38-34 with a jumper.
Michigan State had a chance to break it open, but Craft refused to let it happen.
Michigan State closed the first half on a 6-0 run to take a 31-25 lead into the locker room. Ohio State’s Sam Thompson had just tied the game with an impressive three-point play before the Spartans went on their run, sparked by a layup from Matt Costello and four straight points from Branden Dawson.
Dawson and Gary Harris each have eight points for Michigan State while Adreian Payne has 10 rebounds. Carl Ravenal has seven points to lead Ohio State.
Michigan State is outrebounding Ohio State, 21-13, and is shooting 50 percent from the field while the Buckeyes are shooting just 34 percent.
Adreian Payne has only two points, but 15 minutes into the game the junior already has 10 rebounds for Michigan State. Michigan State also got five straight points from Denzel Valentine to turn a 20-17 deficit into a 22-20 lead with 4:25 to play in the half.
The Spartans are outrebounding the Buckeyes 17-11 and are 48 percent from the field while the Buckeyes are shooting just 35 percent in a first half that has seen five lead changes.
Michigan State scored four quick points to open a 10-6 lead, but Ohio State came back with five straight to take a one-point lead with 11:22 left in the first half.
So far, Michigan State is getting a lot of the shots it wants while Adreian Payne has already grabbed five rebounds, but a 3-pointer from Sam Thompson is the difference so far.
Ohio State jumped out quickly, but after a delay to fix one of the shot clocks, Michigan State started to come alive, scoring six straight points to take a 6-4 lead. Deshaun Thomas came back to tie the game at 6 with a nice hook in the lane before an Ohio State foul led into the first media timeout.
Michigan State missed its first three shots but has now made three straight while three different players have scored.
Michigan State has lost only five times this season, but none of those defeats have come in consecutive games.
After Tuesday’s loss to No. 1 Indiana, Michigan State is hoping to keep that streak alive today at No. 18 Ohio State. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes at home in January and won in their last trip to Value City Arena in 2012.
Guard Travis Trice will play for the second straight game after missing the four previous game while suffering from concussion-like sypmtoms.
Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas, who scored 28 in the first meeting, is three rebounds from becoming the 24th player in Ohio State history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in his career.