The Michigan State Spartans picked up a crucial Big Ten win at home against the Ohio State Buckeyes with their 59-56 victory.
The Spartans rode a raucous crowd and intense defense to a hot start, forcing the Buckeyes into five turnovers early and getting out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes and 30 seconds.
The Buckeyes showed why they are a tough team to beat regardless of home court advantage, shaking off a slow start and chipping away at the lead to come within two by the end of the first half.
The second half was even more defensive, physical basketball as points were hard to come by for both sides all night. The Spartans maintained a small lead throughout the second half thanks to an advantage on the boards, but forward Deshaun Thomas would not allow the Buckeyes to go away quietly.
The smooth-shoothing forward had 28 points and seven rebounds on 10-of-20 shooting from the field including 6-of-11 from three-point range.
Michigan State was much more balanced in its offensive attack, center Adriean Payne led the way but every starter had their own significant contribution on the offensive end of the floor.
As one would expect in a game between two high-caliber teams, it came right down to the wire. Lenzelle Smith, Jr. nailed a three pointer with 10.8 seconds remaining to bring the Buckeyes within one, but the Spartans hit both free throws to bring the lead to three.
Shannon Scott missed a desperation three as the clock ran down and the Spartans improved to 5-1 in conference play.
Author Mark Titus tweeted out this interesting stat after the Buckeyes got off to a slow start.
Crunched some numbers during the under-16 timeout and figured out this: Ohio State is on pace to finish the game with 0 points.— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) January 19, 2013
ESPN Streak for the Cash pointed out just how difficult it is to beat the Spartans at home. They've historically dominated in East Lansing
Did you know? Michigan State is 321-45 at the Breslin Center since it opened in 1989. Although Ohio State did win there last March.— ESPN SFTC (@ESPN_Streak) January 19, 2013
Forward Deshaun (Thomas) was undoubtedly the biggest star of the game. He carried the Buckeyes without much help from his teammates. Doug Lesmerises pointed out the disparity between his production and the rest of the team during the game.
Deshaun Thomas is 8-14. Rest of the Buckeyes are 8-23.— Doug Lesmerises (@PDBuckeyes) January 20, 2013
Spartans vs. Buckeyes was just one of many great college basketball games today notes CBS College Basketball.
Michigan State and Ohio State in a tie game with less than a minute to go on ESPN. What a boring day.— Eye on College BBall (@EyeOnCBB) January 20, 2013
Probasketballdraft wondered what Shannon Scott was thinking when he attempted to tie the game with a final heave.
Shannon Scott must of been in the MSU huddle because not sure what that was the Buckeyes designed.Looked awful.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) January 20, 2013
The Buckeyes will attempt to bounce back when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes, while the Spartans will look to keep momentum rolling in Madison against the Wisconsin Badgers.