Last time the Ohio State men’s basketball team took on Michigan State, sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle for the Buckeyes stole the show. This time out, senior guard Alvin Ellis III of Michigan State was the man with the hot hand, helping lead the Spartans to a 74-66 win.
Ellis finished his game with 18 points, and was 6 of 9 from 3-point range. Early on, when the Spartans had a 21-14 lead, the senior guard had more points that the Buckeyes entire team (15).
Lyle, who missed the team’s last game due to a family emergency, returned to the Buckeyes lineup. The sophomore came off the bench behind sophomore guard C.J. Jackson, and picked up 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists.
OSU could never quite find a way to gain enough momentum to get in front of Michigan State, leading for a meager 42 seconds. Even with a big night for senior forward Marc Loving, who had 22 points, it wasn’t meant to be for the Buckeyes.
Michigan State capitalized frequently off of the fast break, picking up 20 points to OSU’s four. OSU’s final lead came when Lyle knocked down a jumper and a free throw to give the Buckeyes a 27-25 lead, but Michigan State would not be denied.
Freshman guard/forward Miles Bridges picked up 17 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman forward Nick Ward added 15 points for the Spartans. OSU redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson, the normal offensive threat for the Buckeyes, had little impact dealing with foul trouble, picking up just six points and seven rebounds.
In a rare occurrence this season, OSU was outrebounded. Michigan State pulled down 39 boards, while the Buckeyes could only manage 33.
As OSU attempted to make an improbable comeback late, a putback slam by freshman guard Joshua Langford with just 1:34 left in the game effectively dashed OSU’s hopes.
Although the turnover battle swung in favor of OSU coach Thad Matta, the fast-paced and hard offense of coach Tom Izzo and Michigan State was too much for the struggling Buckeyes to overcome.
OSU is now 15-12 this season, and 5-9 in the Big Ten. Michigan State is now 16-10, and 8-5 in conference play, with momentum on its side with just a few weeks remaining in the regular season.
The Buckeyes return to the Schottenstein Center to play Nebraska on Saturday at 6 p.m.