The outcome of both of today's games remained uncertain until the final buzzer sounded. An aptly named hero won the day for the Spartans and there was yet another home heartbreaker in Happy Valley.
Game of the Day: Ohio State @ Michigan State
Denzel Valentine's saintly performance from behind the arc buoyed a Michigan State team in danger of sinking in the B1G standings. After a tight contest early, MSU scored the last eight points of the first half to take a 33-24 lead over the Buckeyes. Ohio State wouldn't go away in the second half though and even took a 49-47 lead with 5 minutes to go. However, the Buckeyes would be down three going into the final minute until Sam Thompson tied things up after an Amir Williams offensive rebound, but it was Denzel Valentine's day as the Michigan State junior hit his fifth three-pointer of the game to win it for the Spartans, 59-56.
Valentine had a game high 17 points for MSU, thanks to a 5-9 performance from three. Branden Dawson also had a big game for the home team, as he scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and swatted 5 shots. Fabulous freshman D'Angelo Russell was held mostly in check, scoring only 10 points and dishing out 6 assists. That would be a good day for most players, but it is rather pedestrian for the future lottery pick. The Buckeyes' Shannon Scott picked up some of the slack for Russell, as he added 15 points and 5 assists of his own. Up next for Michigan State is a trip to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. Ohio State shares a similar fate, but will get a whole week off before their date with Michigan on Sunday the 22nd.
Maryland @ Penn State
The conference's nightcap was just as tightly-contested and entertaining as the early game.
Maryland was finally able to get a conference road win after losing three in a row, but D.J. Newbill and the Penn State Nittany Lions didn't make it easy. Penn State held the lead throughout most of the first half and went into the break with a 34-33 edge. Maryland ripped control of the game away from the home team at the start of the second half, thanks in part to excellent perimeter shooting on their way to a 22-8 run. PSU would claw their way back into the game, taking the 13-point lead down to one with 14 seconds left. After two free throws from Maryland's Melo Trimble, the Nittany Lions would get a chance to tie. Newbill got off a decent shot, but for the second-straight game the Terrapins would survive a last second attempt by the opponent's star player.
The 76-73 final score was just the latest in a season full of heartbreak for Penn State. Newbill led all scorers with 25 points and 4 assists, while teammate Geno Thorpe finished just shy of his career-high with 17. For the Terps, Dez Wells had 22 points and Trimble had 20, the Maryland stars combined to go 19-19 from the free throw stripe in the game. Next week, Maryland welcomes Nebraska to the Xfinity Center on Thursday. For PSU, it doesn't get any easier as they host Wisconsin on Wednesday.