Michigan St. upends No. 3 Ohio St.
Spartans play stingy defense, snap Buckeyes’ home win streak
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Adreian Payne scored 15 points, Draymond Green had 12 and defense-minded No. 11 Michigan State beat No. 3 Ohio State 58-48 Saturday night, ending the Buckeyes' 39-game home winning streak.
The Spartans (20-5, 9-3) pulled into a tie with the Buckeyes (21-4, 9-3) for first place in the Big Ten.
Keith Appling had 14 points for Michigan State, which rode its smothering pressure to a 10-point halftime lead and never relented down the stretch. Payne finished 6 for 6 from the field and 3 for 4 on free throws.
Jared Sullinger had 17 points and 16 rebounds for Ohio State, but was 5 for 15 from the field. Aaron Craft added 15 points, but Deshaun Thomas and William Buford, averaging a combined 30 points, totaled just 12.
The Spartans held the Buckeyes almost 30 points under their average of 76.9 points a game. Ohio State shot just 26 percent from the field (14 for 53).
Ahead 35-25 at the half, the Spartans weathered an early Ohio State assault.
A quick field goal by Thomas and two Sullinger free throws pulled the Buckeyes within six, but it was also apparent that Sullinger, in particular, was growing frustrated by the defensive focus from the Spartans. He yelled after being fouled by Payne at the 18:27 mark, with Green then knocking the ball out of his hands.
Later, Sullinger and Green ended up on the floor after tangling on a rebound. But that was the last skirmish between the two frontrunners for Big Ten player of the year.
Sullinger finished with 10 turnovers -- Ohio State totaled 15.
Green had nine rebounds, two assists and a steal to go with his 12 points. He drew extra attention every time he touched the ball, but Ohio State was not able to neutralize him as the Spartans did Sullinger.
Despite the early surge by Ohio State, things still didn't change for the Spartans. Sullinger seldom if ever got an open view of the hoop and Buford and Thomas failed to relieve the pressure by hitting perimeter shots.
Buford had what appeared to be an open lane to the basket but Payne blocked the shot, with Appling scoring quickly at the other end to make it 44-34.
Swapping body blows and occasional buckets, the teams soldiered on. Ohio State pulled to 44-40 on a 15-footer by Sullinger, but Appling hit two free throws and Nix coaxed in a baby hook to push the lead back to eight and set up a wild last 4 1/2 minutes.
Payne banking in a shot over Sullinger, before Sullinger was called for a charge to pick up his fourth foul. That caused Ohio State coach Thad Matta to call over official Mike Kitts to complain before a media timeout.
Green then drove the baseline on Thomas for a layup to stretch the lead to 10.
Ohio State never got closer than eight again.
The teams will meet again in the regular-season finale on March 4 in East Lansing, Mich.
The Buckeyes had won the last three meetings, although Michigan State has now won six of the last eight in Columbus.
There were few surprises in a first half that was both physical and dominated by defense.
Payne made all five of his shots from the field and led all scorers with 11 points. At the other end, the Spartans surrounded Sullinger whenever he got the ball low. As a result, he was just 2 of 6 from the field with some awkward attempts in traffic. He did have nine points and eight rebounds, but also was forced into five turnovers.
With Ohio State ahead 9-4 after the opening 5 minutes, the Spartans stepped up their defensive pressure. The Buckeyes did not have a field goal for more than 9 minutes while Michigan State outscored them 18-7 -- all seven points coming at the line.
Coach Tom Izzo had complained a year ago in the teams' only meeting, in Columbus, about a large disparity in fouls against his team. The Buckeyes finished 18 of 22 at the line to Michigan State's 12 of 16.
Ohio State had not lost at home since falling to Purdue two years ago. The 39-game streak was the second-longest in the nation, and the second-longest in school history behind the 50 in a row in the early 1960s.