Buckeyes Can't Complete The Second-Half Comeback At Michigan State On Tuesday Night

Ohio State trimmed a double-digit second-half deficit to a single point twice in the final 20 minutes but could not get over the hump vs. the Spartans.

Ohio State trailed by as many as 12 points, cut it to one on two different occasions but lost, 74-66, to Michigan State at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich. on Tuesday night. 

At one point in the first half, Alvin Ellis III scored 15 straight points, hitting five three-pointers, to help MSU (16-10, 8-5 Big Ten) build a 23-14 lead with 11:17 left to play until halftime. The senior guard was averaging 6.0 points per game prior to the contest vs. OSU (15-12, 5-9). His previous career best for triples in a game was three. 

"After the first one went in, I was just going to keep shooting it until I missed," Ellis said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me in transition. It’s really fun. When things are falling like that, you can’t do anything but have fun out there. Everybody is all hyped up and the crowd gets into it. There’s nothing like it."

The Buckeyes responded with 10 straight points to go ahead, 24-23, at the 7:22 mark of the first frame. Kam Williams capped the run with a triple. 

The Spartans then outscored the visitors, 17-10, in the final 6:59 of the opening period to take a 40-34 advantage into the intermission. 

Following the break, OSU fell behind by 12 when MSU made three layups - two by Joshua Langford and the other by Nick Ward - to score the first six points of the second half and take a 46-34 lead with 18:23 left. The Buckeyes responded with a 10-1 run to pull within one of the Spartans, 47-46, with 13:44 remaining. Marc Loving scored five points during the stretch, and Micah Potter's layup culminated it. 

A layup by Ward and a trey from Ellis expanded MSU's lead to six. But a three from Loving and a jumper by Trevor Thompson brought OSU within one again, making it a 52-51 game in favor of the Spartans with 11:32 left to play.

Less than a minute later, JaQuan Lyle had a chance to give the Buckeyes a lead but couldn't knock down his jump shot. The Spartans then scored seven straight points to build a 59-51 cushion just past the halfway mark of the second half and never looked back. The closest OSU came within the hosts the rest of the way was six points.

"We couldn’t get over the hump," said OSU head coach Thad Matta. "We couldn’t make the plays. Obviously at the start, Michigan State slash Ellis got off to - he was on fire. But we just couldn’t make the plays. We got the shots we wanted, they wouldn’t go down for us. I give them credit. They made some big-time plays."

"But I told these guys, we’re right there, we've got to find a way to make the plays we need to make in the right time."

Ellis led MSU with 18 points by going 6 of 9 from downtown.

Loving made 7 of 13 shots from the floor to pace OSU with a game-high 22 points. After missing the team's previous game at Maryland on Saturday due to a family emergency, Lyle finished with 10 points in 28 minutes of action.

The Spartans had 20 fastbreak points compared to the Buckeyes' four.

OSU returns home to take on Nebraska (11-14, 5-8) on Saturday evening. The Buckeyes won the first meeting against the Cornhuskers, 67-66, in Lincoln on Jan. 18.

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