Value City Arena
The #1 Michigan State Spartans came into Value City Arena today looking for their 15th straight win and to continue their record of all their wins by double digits. It didn’t happen as the Buckeyes took it right at the Spartans and didn’t beat them, they whipped them.
I said after the Spartans beat Maryland that the only way any remaining opponent on their regular season schedule could beat them, was with the Spartans help. I was proven correct.
Behind a series of disappointing mistakes (Including a bad technical by Coach Tom Izzo) the Spartan not only struggled against a Buckeye team looking for a signature win under new Coach Chris Holtman.
The Spartans had only trailed once all year at halftime and it just so happens to be in their only loss of the year. It was a decent start for the nation’s #1 team that saw them jump out to an 11-4 lead. That is when the struggle began and Izzo’s technical with only 14 seconds remaining in the first half signaled the implosion.
It was a far from sold out Value City Arena that came alive with the Izzo mistake and they became the proverbial sixth man that helped their team to victory. The Buckeyes went to the locker room at the half up 41-29.
The Buckeyes came out of the halftime break on fire. They made plays and while the Spartans never quit, they struggled to get traction. When Jaren Jackson fouled out with 9:49 remaining in the game you knew it was over. The fact that Izzo was even playing him with four fouls was the equivalent of waving the white flag.
Michigan State shot an abysmal 39% for the game while the red-hot Buckeyes drained 53% of their shots. The Spartans have struggled this season with three-point defense and tonight they were impotent. OSU drilled seven of 15 which are terrific while the Spartans were seven of 25.
Tom Izzo said of the contest, “The problem started with me. There will be no blaming of the players. We didn’t shoot well, but right before halftime I didn’t agree with a couple of major calls, that was my fault. I will take the blame for it and I deserve the blame.”
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtman said of the win, “It is surreal at times for sure. You go into the year not sure what to expect and very rarely do you have a chance to even play a number one team in the country on your home floor. That’s a credit to Michigan State. This is a moment that our fans and our players will remember for a long time.”
Izzo added, “I thought the lack of offense dictated our defense and that shouldn’t happen. That should travel. I was disappointed last year how Nick (Ward) handled things and I was actually very pleased this year how Nick handled things. He still got 10 rebounds and fought in there, and we just didn’t get him the ball. I am going to take a lot of the blame, not to take heat off of my team I don’t do that. That stretch cost us a lot and I was disappointed how it was being officiated and I didn’t handle it very well.”
Joshua Langford and Miles Bridges led the way for the Spartan with 17 points apiece. Cassius Winston had 12 and Jaren Jackson, Jr. added 11 as the only double-digit scoring Spartans. MSU won the battle of the boards 38-33. Nick Ward was the leading rebounder. He had 10 with three points.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday when they are back home at the friendly confines of the Breslin Center. They will be taking on the Rutgers Scarlett Knights. That game tips off at 7 PM and can be seen on BTN.
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