The losing streak is over. Ohio State ended its four-game skid to open Big Ten play with a 72-67 win over Michigan State on Sunday afternoon.
JaQuan Lyle had a team-high 22 points for OSU (11-7, 1-4 Big Ten), making 8 of 12 shots from the field and 5 of 7 three-point tries. The sophomore guard had six assists to just one turnover in 37 minutes of action as well.
“My teammates were getting me open because we talked about it all week watching film that (Michigan State) helps off the nail (the midpoint of the free-throw line)," Lyle said of his shooting performance. "I was just flowing away and my teammates were finding me. If it wasn’t for them making shots, I wouldn’t have been able to make them myself.”
All five starters for Ohio State reached double figures. In addition to Lyle's 22, Marc Loving and Jae'Sean Tate each had 12 while Trevor Thompson and Kam Williams had 10 apiece.
It was a back-and-forth affair for much of the second half until Ohio State went on a 10-0 run in less than two minutes to lead, 66-58, with 5:33 left in the game. Lyle started the stretch with a three followed by a jump shot. Tate knocked down a triple in front of his team’s bench, sending the majority of the 17,449 inside Value City Arena into a frenzy. Thompson culminated the steak with layup.
Miles Bridges had seven of the nine points scored by Michigan State (12-7, 4-2) in the final 4:25 of the game. His layup with 20 seconds left cut OSU’s lead to three, 70-67. A free throw by Williams and Tate sealed the win for the Buckeyes, though.
Bridges was the only Spartan to score in double figures. He had a game-high 24 points while shooting 9 of 12 from the field and 4 of 5 from behind the three-point line. Nick Ward, from Gahanna, Ohio, had the second most points with nine.
Michigan State started the game shooting 6 of 6 from the field to lead, 15-7, early on. The Buckeyes' work on the offensive glass kept the game close, though.
"We shot well at the beginning," MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. "I think the tone was set when we went 6 for 6 and we only had a small lead because our defense was good enough but then we let them offensively rebound. They only ended with six but I think they had five in the first couple minutes."
A little more than seven minutes into the contest, Tate hit two free throws to give Ohio State a 16-15 advantage. That was OSU’s first lead in two-plus games. The Buckeyes never led at Minnesota on Jan. 8 or at Wisconsin on Thursday night.
Three minutes after Tate’s foul shots, Lyle knocked down a three to start an 11-0 run by Ohio State. Loving connected on a pair of treys and Williams capped the spurt with a pull-up jumper at the 7:37 mark to give the Buckeyes a 27-20 lead, it’s largest of the first 20 minutes.
Ohio State played from in front for the rest of the opening frame, but MSU cut it to three by halftime. With 16 seconds left in the half, Joshua Langford missed the front end of a one-and-one but Michigan State got the rebound and Langford knocked down a three just before the horn sounded to make it a 36-33 OSU lead at the break.
For the game, the Buckeyes forced 17 turnovers and converted those into 16 points.
"This was definitely a big win for us," OSU head coach Thad Matta said. "I think Michigan State is a great-coached basketball team. We didn’t have a ton of time to prepare but our guys locked in on the game plan and did a good job with it.”
A trip to Nebraska (9-8, 3-2) on Wednesday evening is next on the docket for Ohio State.