Just three days after suffering their first loss of the season to Wisconsin, Ohio State found itself in a battle, leading 35-34 at halftime.
Is it possible that the Buckeyes could lose to struggling Sparty and only have a one game gap between them and second place. Well, it was possible, but the Buckeyes didn't let it happen. Wisconsin and Purdue were sure hoping for an upset.
The Spartans shot better than the Buckeyes with 57.4 percent to Ohio State's 42.9 percent. So how did Ohio State pull it out by ten points? They used their three pointers and free throw shooting.
Ohio State made six of 17 attempted three pointers to Michigan State's two of just five attempts. Ohio State also got to the line a whole lot more than Michigan State did. Ohio State made 23 of 29 from the free throw line. Michigan State only got six attempts at the free throw line, cashing in on five of them.
A huge reason for most of Ohio State's three point shooting is Jon Diebler, who hit two of three from the arc to tie him for second all time in the Big Ten in made three pointers, just one shy of first place Pete Lisicky of Penn State. Diebler had a total of 12 points.
William Buford led the Buckeyes with 23 points. Jared Sullinger didn't have his best night, scoring just 11 points and only pulled down two rebounds. Looking at those numbers, that is what makes Ohio State so dangerous. If your star doesn't perform his best, it is good to have a whole team capable of taking his place.
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Michigan State goes home with another disappointing loss. This game was very much in the reach of Michigan State and they let it get away from them. I think we saw something out of Michigan State tonight, that we haven't seen in awhile. I think if Michigan State makes the tournament, they could be a very dangerous 10 or 11 seed.
Tonight, their bench players stepped up in a huge way. Kalin Lucas led with 14 points, he was backed by Adreian Payne off the bench with 10 points and Mike Kebler who had eight off the bench. Draymond Green had 10 points.
Michigan State out-rebounded a very good rebounding Buckeye team 29-19. That's part of the reason this game was so within reach for Michigan State. If the Spartans play like this at the Breslin Center, with the home court advantage, they could be dangerous when Illinois and Purdue roll in there.
Michigan State must win their next game this week against Illinois at home. It is a must win for NCAA Tournament hopes. But then again, Illinois is almost in the same boat, they must get a win for NCAA Tournament hopes, after falling to Purdue at home.
Ohio State will be welcomed into the not so friendly confines of Mackey Arena to take on Purdue on Sunday. That will be a very key game if either Wisconsin or Purdue has a stab at the Big Ten title. My guess is Purdue will be much more ready to play Ohio State after being embarrassed in Columbus. It is sure to be an electric atmosphere, will the Buckeyes see two losses in the span of a week? We are sure to find out.