Ohio State basketball’s résumé remains relatively empty.
The Buckeyes have had plenty of opportunities for good wins, but in most cases they’ve walked away empty-handed. That happened once again on Tuesday as Michigan State topped the Buckeyes for a 74-66 win in East Lansing.
The Spartans stretched out their lead to a dozen points early in the second half, but Ohio State countered with a 12-1 run. That put the Buckeyes within 1 at 47-46 with 13 minutes, 47 seconds to play, but it was as close as they got the rest of the way.
The loss dropped Ohio State to 15-12 overall and 5-9 in Big Ten play. The Spartans improved to 16-10 and 8-5.
Why it happened
Ohio State started slow and struggled to recover. The Buckeyes got into foul trouble early in the first half, which hindered them. Based on how things went, they could count themselves fortunate to only be down by 6 points at halftime.
Michigan State opened the second half with three quick baskets to quickly stretch the lead to 12, an offensive outburst that gave the Spartans enough breathing room and keep Ohio State from ever leading in the second half.
What it means for Ohio State basketball
It’s probably a wrap for Ohio State’s chances of securing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes could still play their way in via the Big Ten Tournament, although it’s also looking like they’ll be seeded low enough there to need five consecutive wins. Considering they currently have five conference wins in 14 tries, that’s not looking like a particularly likely option.
From a basketball standpoint, the Buckeyes need to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they can’t seem to get the job done. In most of their losses, they’ve been in the thick of it for long enough or late enough. That was once again true on Tuesday night, when that 12-1 run in the second half pulled the Buckeyes to within a point of the lead. However, it still wasn’t enough to get the job done. Michigan State had an answer for every Ohio State run, and the Buckeyes endured too many stretches of ineffectiveness to seize the lead.
Perhaps fittingly on Valentine’s Day, Marc Loving was Ohio State’s most effective scorer. He poured in 22 points, one of only two Buckeyes to reach double figures. (The only other Ohio State player to get there was JaQuan Lyle, who scored 10 off the bench).
Kam Williams definitely wasn’t at his best against the Spartans. He finished with 5 points on 2-of-10 shooting to go with 2 rebounds and 3 assists.
What’s next for Ohio State basketball
Ohio State hosts Nebraska at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday in a game televised by the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes took home a 67-66 win in the teams’ previous meeting this season, back on Jan. 18.
FINAL: Michigan State 74, Ohio State 66 pic.twitter.com/N1JQFgaqg7
— Ryan Ginn (@rmginn) February 15, 2017