Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
The Ohio State men’s basketball team suffered its first home loss of the season Saturday, as Michigan State out-muscled the Buckeyes for a 58-48 win.
The loss snapped a 39-game home win streak for OSU and dropped the Buckeyes into a tie atop the Big Ten standings.
The Buckeyes struggled shooting all night and the Spartans found their edge inside, totaling 14 offensive rebounds for the game. OSU’s 48-point output was their lowest of the season.
“I feel fortunate because I think they missed some shots they normally make,” MSU coach Tom Izzo said after the game. “Defensively we were as good as we’ve been all year.”
MSU senior forward Draymond Green and sophomore center Adreian Payne dominated, combining for each of the Spartans’ first 15 points.
It wasn’t until 9:12 remaining in the first half that another MSU player scored a bucket when sophomore Keith Appling hit a 3-pointer to give his team the 18-14 advantage.
OSU went on a 3:46 scoring drought that saw MSU take an 8-point lead in the opening period. Sophomore guard Aaron Craft broke the streak with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Jared Sullinger cut the lead to three.
The Spartans continued to have success in the paint. Payne followed an MSU miss with his second tip-slam of the game and Sullinger had the ball poked away on the inside on the other end.
The turnover by Sullinger — his fifth of the game — occurred with OSU trailing 33-25 with under a minute remaining in the half.
An acrobatic layup by Appling gave MSU a 35-25 lead at intermission.
“We looked out of synch,” Sullinger said of the Buckeyes’ first-half performance. “We didn’t run our offense.”
The Buckeyes cut MSU’s lead to four at one point in the second half, but couldn’t get closer.
OSU tried to work the ball into Sullinger down low throughout the final 20 minutes, but the Buckeyes’ big man continued to struggle finding his touch. Sullinger finished the game on 5-of-15 shooting.
The rest of the Buckeyes didn’t fare much better as the team connected on just one of their first nine shots of the half.
OSU head coach Thad Matta said the shots just weren’t falling.
“We opened up the second half. We got the ball at the rim,” Matta said. “We’re getting fouled and it just wasn’t going in.”
The Spartans’ lead swelled to 12, but an alley-oop finished by senior guard William Buford brought the sold-out crowd to its feet and cut the lead to 10 with 14:37 remaining.
After an Appling layup with 11:48 remaining, the Buckeye defense stepped up and MSU was held scoreless for the next six minutes.
Sullinger was able to put in a bucket from the left block and bring OSU’s deficit down to six, 44-38.
He then connected again on a baseline jumper to bring OSU within four, but poor shooting killed any chance of an OSU comeback victory — the Buckeyes shot 26 percent from the floor and 13.3 percent from behind the arc.
A layup by Green and pair of free throws by Appling again put MSU up by double digits and OSU never threatened again.
Sullinger finished the game with 17 points and 16 rebounds, but also had 10 turnovers.
He said MSU’s double team gave him trouble.
“I wasn’t expecting the double because that’s not what Michigan State shows if you look at the film,” Sullinger said. “They had a great game plan and they stick to their system and that’s what happens when you stick to the system.”
Craft added 15 points and was the only other Buckeye to finish in double figures.
Payne was the high scorer for the Spartans finishing with 15 points, hitting all six of his shots.
The loss drops OSU’s record to 21-4 overall and 9-3 in the conference.
Matta said his team needs to move forward.
“It’s got to be a learning experience for a relatively young basketball team,” Matta said. “You’ve got to stay together. You’re still sitting atop the conference. As a I told them, we’ll see what kind of team we have tomorrow.”
OSU next travels to Minnesota where to take on the Golden Gophers Feb. 14. Tip is for 9 p.m.