Big Ten Duo Survives Pair of Upset Scares on Tuesday Night
Going into this week, all of the attention directed toward Ohio State and Michigan State was on the marquee matchups on Saturday against Kansas and Texas.
However, the attention of the nation was shifted earlier than expected this week, as the Buckeyes and Spartans faced difficult mid-major opponents on Tuesday.
Ohio State (9-1) hosted Winthrop (4-5) at Value City Arena in what figured to be an easy victory in preparation for Kansas.
But, the Buckeyes were given a scare by the Eagles for 30 minutes on Tuesday night before they took control and closed out the game, 65-55.
At halftime, Thad Matta's team was ahead by just a point over their Big South opposition.
After halftime, the Buckeyes began to wake up behind the shooting of Deshaun Thomas, who scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half.
The momentum permanently shifted to the Buckeyes halfway through the second half when Thomas drained two straight three-pointers over a 40-second stretch.
Winthrop did not concede defeat until the final whistle as the Eagles kept throwing up long three-point shots that NBA players would find difficult.
The Eagles did not do themselves any favors in the free-throw shooting department either, finishing 7-of-12.
Michigan State (10-2) took to the road on Tuesday night, visiting Bowling Green (5-5) of the MAC.
The Spartans also struggled to dispense of their opponents early, leading by just five points at halftime.
After holding their hosts to 24 points in the second half, the Spartans came out of Ohio with a 64-53 win.
The Falcons, led by guards Chauncey Orr and Jordan Crawford, put in a gutsy performance in front of their home crowd at the Stroh Center but were unable to earn the MAC's fourth upset of a Big 10 team this season.
Tom Izzo's squad was able to pull out a victory toward the end of the second half to win their first true road game this year. They won a neutral-site game over Kansas earlier this year.
Three Spartans scored in double digits with Gary Harris leading the team with 13 points.
Izzo will now lead his team into a game with Texas at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Saturday.
Ohio State will host Big 12 opposition on Saturday as they welcome Kansas to Columbus.
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