INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Drew Neitzel scored 28 points, Travis Walton hit five free throws in the final minute and No. 19 Michigan State held off Ohio State 67-60 on Friday in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
Fourth-seeded Michigan State (25-7), which lost to Wisconsin in the semifinals last year, will get a rematch with the top-seeded Badgers on Saturday. Wisconsin advanced with a 51-34 quarterfinal victory over Michigan in the lowest-scoring game in Big Ten tourney history.
Neitzel hit six 3-pointers against the Buckeyes’ zone, but the Spartans couldn’t pull away until late in the game with a 3-pointer by Durrell Summers, a steal by Neitzel and another basket by Summers. Ohio State managed only one free throw over a span of more than 4 minutes, and the Spartans took their biggest lead at nine points during the late string of free throws by Walton, his only points of the game.
Kosta Koufos scored 19 points and David Lighty had 12 for fifth-seeded Ohio State (19-13), which won the conference tournament last year.
Ohio State beat Michigan State 63-54 in the final game of the regular season but had to come back from a 10-point deficit in the second half of that game. This time, the Buckeyes stayed close throughout thanks to a big boost from Koufos, a 7-foot freshman.
Neitzel’s third 3-pointer put Michigan State up 27-22, but Koufos matched that from long range and added another basket after Neitzel’s next 3. Ohio State got the ball back in the closing seconds of the half, and a 3-pointer by Jamar Butler tied it at 30 at the break.
It was only the second tie of the game — Ohio State never led in the first half — but Michigan State could never pull away to a comfortable advantage. The Spartans’ biggest lead of the half was 18-11 before an 8-2 run that included a fastbreak dunk by Koufos. Michigan State never led by more than five after that until its late run in the second half.
Ohio State’s only lead was at 32-30 on a basket by Lighty at the start of the second half. Neitzel’s next 3-pointer put the Spartans back on top, and they stayed there despite a stretch of 7 minutes without a field goal.