CHICAGO — No one expected Michigan State’s basketball regular season finale to stick. Particularly not Tom Izzo.
And it evaporated. Just as Ohio State, in its third game in three days at the United Center, made just about every look it took.
And the Buckeyes continued. And going. And the Spartans go home early.
Fueled by adrenaline and the need to win it all or see the end of a disappointing season, 13th-seeded Ohio State hit 10 3-pointers while fourth-seeded MSU struggled mightily to find some flow in a 1-2 loss. 68-58 on Friday afternoon.
The Spartans (19-12), who scored 80 points in four straight games to close out the regular season, shot just 3-of-16 from 3-point range. They struggled to move the ball, with just 11 assists, and now must wait for their NCAA tournament fate and seed on Sunday night.
TRENDS:Earvin Johnson Sr., Father of NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, Dies
The Buckeyes (16-18), who won without star freshman Brice Sensabaugh (knee), advance to play the top-seeded and No. 3-ranked Purdue on Saturday at noon at the United Center (CBS). Bruce Thornton scored 21 points and Rodney Gayle Jr. had 15, while Senior Judge Sueing scored 14.
OSU shot 52.6% from deep after making 7-of-15 3-pointers in the second half of MSU’s 84-78 home win Saturday at East Lansing to sweep the regular-season series.
Four Spartans reached double figures, led by Joey Hauser’s 15 points and six rebounds. AJ Hoggard, Tyson Walker and Jaden Akins each scored 10 as MSU finished 38.2% overall from the field.
return to futility
The Spartans brought their hot shot of the previous month into the first five minutes on Friday, going 4-for-6 in the first 4:17 that included a 7-0 run. All those cubes came after the assists.
Then the ball stopped moving and his shots stopped falling.
MSU was 5-for-23 in the last 15 or more minutes. Hauser’s 3-pointer at 16:35 was the only one of the half, with the Spartans losing their last seven to go into the 1-of-9 half when Hauser blew one at the buzzer. The Spartans had just two assists after the shared start.
MEDIUM:Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament 2023: Schedule, TV, Broadcast Info, Scores
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes couldn’t miss. Sueing drilled a pair of 3-pointers and Sean McNeil another as OSU took control 15-6 at the midpoint of the half. Then came another 13-4 run that pushed the Buckeyes’ lead to double digits, and Gayle’s 3-pointer with 2:29 left made it 11 before Walker’s layup cut MSU’s halftime deficit to 33-24. .
It was reminiscent of the Spartans’ first-half struggles on Feb. 28 at Nebraska, where they shot 27.8 in the first half before bouncing back with a blistering second half. On Friday, MSU won just 31% overall to OSU’s 51.9% shooting. Hauser scored seven points at halftime, four of them at the free throw line, while Walker and Mady Sissoko each had six. Hoggard and Akins were a combined 1-for-9.
The Buckeyes made 5 of 9 3-pointers in the first half. Thornton and Sueing each had eight and combined for five of OSU’s nine assists at the half.
recovery is not enough
The shots began to fall for MSU after the half, first a Hauser jumper in the paint and then a 3-pointer from Walker. Confidence seemed to revive, with a jumper from Akins and a driving layup from Hoggard trailing the Spartans 36-34 less than 4 1/2 minutes into the final period.
But the Buckeyes responded to that opening salvo from MSU with a 10-2 time trial to push the lead back to double digits. And Ohio State hit big 3-pointers when it needed them, with Gayle and Sueing each draining a pair from deep as the Buckeyes went 5-of-10 from behind the arc in the final period.
The Spartans made one last surge, pulling within six with 4:54 to play off Hoggard’s driving layup. But Gayle’s three-pointer with 3:14 remaining was part of the knockout streak that brought her to 14 points in the final minutes.
Contact Chris Solari: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari.
Read more about the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.
This article originally appeared on the Detroit Free Press: Michigan State Basketball Stunned in Ohio State Big Ten Tournament