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Ohio State Buckeyes Thump #1 Michigan State, Are They Contenders?

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Chris Holtmann has turned around things rather quickly

NCAA Basketball: Michigan State at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State Buckeyes were taking on the number 1 team in the nation for the 20th time in their history, this time playing host to the Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes were 8-11 in those match-ups heading into the game, 5-5 on their home floor.

The two teams battled for most of the first half, with the score tied at 29 with 1:49 left, then Ohio State went on a huge run, including a circus three from Andrew Dakich to take a 41-29 lead into intermission.

The crowd and the team came out in the second half ready, and both showed great emotion. The Buckeyes gave great defensive effort and kept Michigan State from getting easy buckets, while also creating opportunities for themselves.

After about 5 loose balls in one possession, the ball ended up in Keita Bates-Diop’s hands and he knocked down a bank shot for a 61-40 lead with 13:36 left in the game. It was his 26th point of the game. A couple of buckets by C.J Jackson had the Buckeyes up 65-42 and the crowd was in a frenzy.

The nerves on the young Buckeyes was obvious, as their play started to tighten up. Freshman Caleb Wesson didn’t seem to notice, as some nice high-low passes kept the pressure on the Spartans.

A Joshua Langford three knocked the lead down to 19 and then a Dakich turnover gave Michigan State their first real spark of hope with 7:59 left in the game.

A Miles Bridges three closed the gap to 69-55 and then Bates-Diop and the Buckeyes answered with a dunk, followed by an offensive foul on Michigan State with freshman Wesson taking a charge.

An isolation jumper by Bates-Diop put the lead back up to 18 with a little over 5 minutes to go. Michigan State pressed the Buckeyes but never trapped. All this seemed to do was allow OSU to run the shot clock down, while still getting good looks inside.

The Buckeyes closed out the win, 80-64.

Keita Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes with 32 points.

This was a big win against the best team on their schedule. The Buckeyes won with great defense and good shot selection, and looked like the better team. Michigan State was flustered on offense. This win moves the Buckeyes to 4-0 in Big Ten play, and past aspirations of being a bubble NCAA team and squarely into conference contender status.

Do you agree?

Poll

Is Ohio State a B1G Contender or Pretender?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Heck yes!
    (46 votes)
  • 63%
    They are pretty good, but not good enough to win.
    (115 votes)
  • 5%
    They’ll be lucky to finish .500
    (10 votes)
  • 6%
    They still suck!
    (11 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now