No. 1 Michigan State (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) won’t be the nation’s top-ranked team for much longer after suffering an 80-64 blowout loss at the hands of unranked Ohio State (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten) on the road on Sunday.
Miles Bridges and Josh Langford led the way for the Spartans with 17 points apiece, while Cassius Winston added 12 points and 6 assists. Michigan State hit just 39 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 12 times to Ohio State’s 6.
Michigan State’s bench, which excelled against Maryland, mustered just 4 points on Sunday. Ohio State’s bench only scored 3 of its own, but Big Ten leading scorer Keita Bates-Diop dropped in a career-high 32 points in a masterful performance.
WHY: Ohio State looked like a team that wanted to make a statement, while Michigan State looked like a team coasting off the impressive performances of the last five games. The Buckeyes came out with more energy, got almost every loose ball, had lightning-quick defensive transitions and seemed to hit every shot that came their way. They shot 52.5 percent in the game.
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan State will drop out of the No. 1 spot one week after getting it. All talks of a possible undefeated Big Ten record have been quelled quickly. They were humbled from start to finish in just their second true road game of the season, showing that even in a seemingly weaker conference this season, it’s never easy to win away from home. The loss ended a 14-game Michigan State winning streak in eye-opening fashion.
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) January 7, 2018
WHO STARRED: Keita Bates-Diop. No Michigan State coach or player belongs in this category. Whether guarded by Jaren Jackson Jr. (who fouled out), Bridges or Matt McQuaid, Bates-Diop got free for good looks at the rim or knocked down step-backs and fade-aways with ease. He had 32 points on 12 of 21 shooting.
WHO STUMBLED: Nick Ward. By this, it means Michigan State’s struggles as a whole made Ward look bad. Ohio State put together a stellar game plan in which the Buckeyes would collapse on Ward whenever he got the ball, trying to strip the ball away before he could kick it out. As a result, Ward finished with just 3 points (all free throws) on a single field goal attempt, which he sent firing off the backboard in the first half while looking for a foul.
In fairness to Ward, he did well on the boards, grabbing 10 rebounds. And he would have done better offensively if the Spartans didn’t abandon their inside-out game and rely on 3-pointers and one-on-one drives instead.
WHO WAS THERE: Ohio State brought an energized crowd to the often underwhelming Value City Arena, and the Buckeyes gave them plenty to cheer about. Everyone was against Michigan State on Sunday, and the Spartans didn’t seem up to the challenge.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State returns to the comfort of home on Wednesday against Rutgers, which it beat in early December. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network.
There's your final, if you can bear to look. pic.twitter.com/J1jzAmhTxm
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) January 7, 2018