The Michigan State Spartans entered Colombus hoping to secure their 16th win of the season, and eighth in conference play. Coming off a 63-58 victory over Maryland, the Spartans looked to win back-to-back games for the first time since early January when the team was on a seven-game winning streak.
Since that win streak, MSU has gone 3-5 in their last eight games. That includes two losses to the top-ranked Purdue Boilermakers.
The Ohio State Buckeyes entered the game on a five-game losing skid. OSU had lost 10 of their previous 11 matchups. Despite their struggles this season, the Buckeyes opened the game as 3.5-point favorites at home, where they hold an 8-4 record this season.
Neither team could pull ahead through the first 12 minutes of action. With 8:40 left in the first half, the score remained tied at 9-9. However, an 18-5 run by the Spartans gave MSU a 27-14 lead at the end of the first half. MSU’s defense held OSU’s offense to their lowest-scoring first half all season.
Both teams’ offenses picked things up early in the second half. OSU cut MSU’s lead to five points, 38-33, midway through the half. However, Michigan State countered with an 11-2 run of their own to keep the Buckeyes at arm’s length. The Spartans extended their lead to over 20 points, defeating the Buckeyes 62-41.
Joey Hauser leads the way in MSU’s victory
Michigan State forward Joey Hauser finished the contest with a game-leading 22 points. The senior finished the game shooting eight for 13 from the floor and six for nine from beyond the arc. Hauser tallied eight rebounds, two assists and a steal in his performance as well. He was one of two Spartans to finish with double digits scoring, the other being Tyson Walker with 10 points.
The Spartans outrebounded the Buckeyes 42-33. The team’s 15 assists outmatched OSU’s five. Despite 19 fouls between both teams, only three free throws were attempted in the matchup.
MSU held OSU to 28.3 percent shooting from the floor and 20.7 percent shooting from three-point range. The Buckeyes struggled to string together runs, and only guard Sean McNeil was able to score double digits for the team. This marks the lowest point total the Spartans have held a team to this season and is the fewest points the Buckeyes’ offense has scored all season.
The Spartans’ victory brings MSU into a five-way tie for fifth place in the Big Ten conference.
The Michigan State Spartans take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers at home at the Breslin Center on Feb. 15. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. EST.
(Featured Image Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)