Nothing comes easy in Big Ten basketball.
Despite coming back from a 55-38 deficit with just more than seven minutes to play to tie the game and send it to overtime against No. 5 Michigan State, the Buckeyes were not able to finish the job, falling, 72-68, for their first lost of the season.
MSU led for the majority of the 40 minutes of regulation, taking a 28-21 lead into halftime after a 7-0 run during the final three and a half minutes of the first half.
No. 3 Ohio State (15-1, 2-1), led by senior guard Aaron Craft and junior forward Sam Thompson, would not go down without a fight though, as a pair of dunks by Thompson with less three minutes to play in regulation cut the lead to six. Craft then completed a three-point play, and after an offensive foul call on Spartans senior guard Keith Appling, insanity ensued.
Two misses by Craft led to a loose ball that appeared to be going MSU’s way until the do-everything guard dove and snatched it, calling a timeout to save possession.
Craft then threw the ball off MSU senior center Adreian Payne’s back on the ensuing inbounds play, making a layup to cut the lead to 57-56.
Payne made one of two free throws on the other end, and OSU junior center Amir Williams dunked the ball home to tie the game with just 21 seconds remaining.
Junior guard Shannon Scott stole the ball from Appling, but missed a potential game winning layup as time expired in regulation.
The Buckeyes struck first in overtime, when Thompson made two free throws, but did not lead again.
Back-to-back threes by MSU redshirt-freshman forward Kenny Kaminski and Payne followed by a free throw by sophomore guard Gary Harris gave the Spartans a five-point edge, but OSU evened the score at 66 on a layup by Craft and 3-pointer by Thompson.
Appling, who finished with a game-high 20 points, nailed a three on the ensuing possession, and after two free throws by OSU freshman forward Marc Loving, the MSU guard made three free pointers to seal the win. The Buckeyes had a chance to tie the game later, but Loving missed a forced 3-pointer with five seconds remaining that spelled the team’s fate.
Thompson finished with 18 points to lead OSU, while Loving added 10.
Payne finished with 18 points and six rebounds for the Spartans (14-1, 3-0).
Up next, the Buckeyes are set to take on Iowa Sunday. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
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