A hot topic of conversation surrounding the Ohio State men’s basketball team this season is the Buckeyes’ lack of a second scorer.
Many have questioned whether OSU can win tough conference games without an established sidekick to junior forward Deshaun Thomas.
On Saturday the answer was no, as OSU fell on the road to Michigan State, 59-56.
Thomas scored 28 points, the most he’s scored in a Big Ten game this season, but it wasn’t enough to propel OSU against the Spartans.
Thomas received little help on offense from his teammates, as no other Buckeye scored more than six points. Five Spartans scored eight or more points.
With the loss the No. 11 Buckeyes fall to 13-4 on the season and to 3-2 in conference play.
No. 18 MSU improves to 16-3, 5-1 in the conference. With the win, the Spartans remain undefeated at the Breslin Center.
OSU opened play in sluggish fashion, failing to score for about five minutes and falling behind, 10-0. The early stages seemed similar to the Buckeyes’ Jan. 5 loss to Illinois, in which they fell behind early and were eventually blown out. But against the Spartans, OSU fought back, tying the game at 13 midway through the first half.
From there, the game would swing back and forth, as both teams attempted to seize momentum. MSU went on several runs, but just when the game seemed out of reach, Thomas would respond with a crucial basket. The junior forward connected on 10 of 20 shots, and made 6 of 11 3-pointers.
OSU had several chances to possibly win or tie the game but came up short down the stretch. With about 20 seconds left OSU trailed 55-53 but couldn’t take the lead as junior guard Aaron Craft missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the corner. Craft’s miss led to an easy transition score for the Spartans, and then OSU answered with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one.
After MSU knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to three, the Buckeyes had one last shot to send the game to overtime.
But with two seconds left on the clock, OSU’s Shannon Scott hoisted an off-balance 3-pointer, perhaps anticipating an intentional foul, and the shot never stood a chance. The sophomore guard was visibly upset after missing the likely ill-advised shot, and buried his head in his jersey as the game came to a close.
The Buckeyes return home for their next game against Iowa Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.