Following the loss to the Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday night, the Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team traveled to Columbus on short rest to take on the No. 23-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan State was defeated by Ohio State by a final score of 80-69.
Ohio State’s Zed Key and Kyle Young missed this game, but center Joey Brunk — starting in Key’s place — stepped up in a big way. Brunk, surprisingly, scored 18 points, while making seven of his 10 shots from the floor. He also had six rebounds. The Spartans had no answer for the Indiana transfer.
It was another rough start for Michigan State, and the Spartans could never recover. Ohio State jumped out to an early 11-0 lead, with freshman guard Malaki Branham and junior forward E.J. Liddell getting the Buckeyes up big early.
Ohio State guard Eugene Brown III then put the Buckeyes up 13-0 with a jumper before point guard A.J. Hoggard finally got the Spartans on the board with a layup. By the first media timeout, OSU led MSU 18-6.
Freshman guard Jaden Akins then hit a three-pointer for Michigan State, but it was immediately answered by Ohio State guard Jamari Wheeler. At the under-12-minute media timeout, the Buckeyes had an 11-point advantage at 22-11.
Michigan State then put together a quick 9-2 run, which included three-pointers by forwards Joey Hauser and Gabe Brown, cutting the deficit to just four points, with Ohio State leading 24-20 with 9:34 left in the first half. However, the Buckeyes responded with a three-pointer by Liddell to push the lead back out to seven points.
Then, Michigan State center Julius Marble hit a jumper and Brown drilled another three-pointer to cut Ohio State’s lead to just two points at 27-25 with 8:11 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately for the Spartans, that would be as close as Michigan State got.
Brunk, Branham and Wheeler scored nine-straight points for the Buckeyes, as Ohio State stretched its lead back to double-digits at 11 points, 36-25. The teams would then trade buckets, as center Marcus Bingham Jr. scored the Spartans’ next eight points, including two three-pointers. Meanwhile, Branham and Brunk added two-point buckets, while Wheeler made another shot from behind the arc for the Buckeyes.
At halftime, Ohio State had a 10-point lead at 43-33. The Buckeyes shot nearly 60 percent overall from the floor in the first half, while making eight of the team’s 13 shots from three-point range (61.5 percent). Michigan State shot just 40 percent overall and 50 percent from deep range in the first 20 minutes.
The Buckeyes outscored the Spartans 37-36 in the second half. Every time Michigan State attempted to make a run in the second half, Ohio State had an answer. Similar to the first half, the final half got off to a slow start for MSU, as Liddell immediately scored a bucket, Marble missed a dunk on the fast-break and Brown then turned the ball over on the next possession.
Shortly after the under-16-minute media timeout in the second half, Branham made a layup to extend Ohio State’s lead to 15 points at 55-40, which was the largest lead of the game for the Buckeyes (OSU reached a 15-point lead a couple other times throughout the second half). The teams would trade baskets throughout the rest of the half, but the Buckeyes would never allow the Spartans to make it a single-digit game.
With 16 seconds left to play, Hauser made a layup to make the final score look slightly better with an 11-point deficit at 80-69, and that would be the final score.
Brown led Michigan State with 13 points. Bingham was the only other Spartan to score double-digit points with 11, and he also led MSU in rebounds with five. Branham led Ohio State with 22 points, while Liddell had 19 points and eight boards. Brunk had the aforementioned 18 points and Wheeler scored 16 points.
Ohio State shot 29-for-53 (55 percent) overall and 9-for-20 from three-point distance (45 percent). Michigan State shot 24-for-53 (45 percent) and 9-for-18 from deep (50 percent). MSU had 13 turnovers compared to 10 giveaways for OSU. The Spartans out-rebounded the Buckeyes 30-26, which included 10 offensive rebounds versus just five for OSU.
Michigan State has now lost two games in a row, and five of the last six games overall. The Spartans fall to 19-11 on the season, and 10-9 in Big Ten Conference play. Meanwhile, Ohio State improves to 19-9 overall and 12-7 in the Big Ten.
Michigan State closes out the regular season at home on Sunday against the Maryland Terrapins. The game tips off at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast on CBS. The Big Ten Tournament will then take place next week.