Michigan State vs. Ohio State: Live Score, Updates and Analysis for B1G Game
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Aaron Craft's career-high 21 points led the No. 18-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes to a thrilling 68-60 home victory Sunday over the No. 4-ranked Michigan State Spartans, who suffered back-to-back losses for the first time this season.
Down 31-25 at the half, the Buckeyes (20-5, 10-7) reversed their fortunes by playing Spartan-like basketball: A gritty, smart and effective style that has worked wonders for Tom Izzo and Co.
Despite blowout losses to Indiana and Wisconsin, the Buckeyes showed that they're a team to fear come March. Knocking off a Top-Five team at home is impressive under any circumstance, and Thad Matta's team certainly looks capable of stringing together a few victories in late March and early April.
Keith Appling was once again a no-show for the Spartans (22-6, 11-4), spending a considerable amount of time on the bench to complement a lackluster line of three points, three steals, a rebound, an assist and a steal.
Adreian Payne couldn't be stopped in the first half; he grabbed six rebounds in the opening 10 minutes and finished with a career-high 15 rebounds to go with 12 points.
Gary Harris led Michigan State with 14 points and Derrick Nix scored 12.
Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan State Spartans basketball writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81
OSU 68, MSU 60 (final)
Michigan State has to be much more focused come March 3 -- its rematch with Michigan. Today's effort won't get it done at the Crisler Center. Three losses in a row would cast serious doubt on the Spartans come time to dance.
The Buckeyes showed that they're scrappy enough to tangle with anyone, despite blowout losses to Indiana and Wisconsin. Ohio State doesn't look like a team that anyone wants to play in March.
OSU 65, MSU 60 (1:10, 2nd)
The Buckeyes have really impressed me with their commitment to the hustle. They've played like the Spartans should have played.
The last few minutes of this game reminds me a little of Michigan State-Indiana. Very physical, and it seems that the Buckeyes are scrambling in an effort to not let one get away from them.
OSU 61, MSU 59 (2:30, 2nd)
Gary Harris isn't going down without a fight. Too bad the rest of his team hasn't played with same sense of urgency, for the most part. Harris' basket and free-throw have Michigan State right back in this one.
OSU 61, MSU 54 (3:43, 2nd)
Had Spartans got a typical effort from Keith Appling -- who averages about 14 per game -- a seven-point deficit at this stage of the game probably wouldn't have happened.
Michigan State going to "bully ball," says CBS' Clark Kellogg. It's a little late for that, isn't it? That should have been the game plan to start the second half. Physical play wins games in the B1G.
There is a lack of desire for the Michigan State Spartans. I'm wondering just how that loss to Indiana really impacted the team's mentality. You'd think the Spartans would come out with much more purpose today, but they haven't.
OSU 54, MSU 48 (6:00, 2nd)
Ohio State can now take advantage of Michigan State's foul trouble by aggressively attacking the rim -- the Spartans can't afford to give the Buckeyes freebies from contact.
Ohio State definitely has the edge in momentum.
OSU 51, MSU 44 (7:40, 1st)
You can bet your bottom dollar that Tom Izzo isn't thrilled right now. Blown possessions because of quick-shooting freshman Denzel Valentine (who didn't have a great look from long range) and sophomore Travis Trice weren't what the Spartans needed.
However, Adreian Payne's dunk didn't hurt. Time to build off of that and return to banging the inside like there's no tomorrow.
At this juncture of the game, if Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne don't take over, no one will.
Michigan State's transition is hindered by eager shooting and poor shot selection.
The only way the Spartans will come back is if they attack the paint like they did in the first half. Outside game isn't working, so they'd serve themselves well if they went back to what worked in the first 20 minutes.
It's a great thing for Michigan State to be able to rely on Gary Harris, a freshman, but Keith Appling is a junior and has to be the guy that spearheads the offense -- especially during a pivotal road game.
Aaron Craft has absolutely abused Michigan State in the second half with relentless hustle.
OSU 49, MSU 41 (10:31, 2nd)
The upcoming five-minute stretch will be crucial for Michigan State if it wants to get back level with Ohio State. The Spartans' lack of energy is almost comical at this point.
Amir Williams was a virtual no-show in the first half, but his dunk has electrified Buckeyes fans.
Ohio-based sports writer Evan Debo liked what he saw, but wants more of it.
When Amir is motivated he can be ferocious. Unfortunately we only see spurts of it. #Buckeyes— Evan Debo (@EvanDebo) February 24, 2013
OSU 45, MSU 40 (12:17, 2nd)
The Buckeyes came out of the break looking like a team with energy and purpose. The Spartans, though, look...well, they look tired and out of sync right now.
Did you feel that? That was Deshaun Thomas shifting the momentum in Ohio State's favor.
OSU 39, MSU 38 (13:33, 2nd)
Where is the real Keith Appling? The genuine article would have hit that floater in the lane with his eyes closed.
MSU 38, OSU 34 (15:00, 2nd)
Adreian Payne drank a little Keith Appling Gatorade before today's game. That's the only explanation I have for his turnaround jumper and ball-handling skills against Buckeyes.
If you were to tell me before the game that Michigan State would control the tempo of this game with Keith Appling being a non-factor, I would called you ca-ra-zay.
Stranger things have happened, though.
Ohio State blogger Jeff Rapp isn't ready to throw in the towel; he shouldn't be. Buckeyes aren't backing down from Tom Izzo's Spartans (via Twitter)
MSU 36, OSU 30 (17:53, 2nd)
Don't think that the Buckeyes are going to roll over in the second half. Michigan State may have control of the tempo, but Ohio State is a rally away from taking the reins.
Sign of confidence: Running away with a scowl on your face after hitting a three-pointer to open the second half.
Guess who that was?
Gary Harris, that's who.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?