INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – No sweep for No. 7 Michigan State. Probably no No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, either.
Ohio State used every bit of its depth and versatility, not to mention some nifty 3-point shooting, in overpowering the Spartans 82-70 in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament Saturday. It was the second-most points the Spartans (26-6) had allowed this season.
Evan Turner had all 18 of his points in the second half, along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Jon Diebler had 17 on 5-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, William Buford had 14 and B.J. Mullens added 12.
Kalin Lucas had 17 for the Spartans, who were hoping that adding the tournament title to their regular-season crown might convince the NCAA selection committee to make them a No. 1 seed, especially after Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Oklahoma lost.
But it’s tough to win when shooting just 38 percent, including 3-of-21 from 3-point range. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, were 9-of-16 from long range.
Korie Lucious tried to get the Spartans back in the game late. The freshman hit a 3 – only the second of the day for the Spartans – made a pair of layups and converted all three free throws when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt to cut Ohio State’s lead to 68-58 with 4:33 to play.
But the Spartans would go another 2 minutes without a field goal and were forced to foul in the final minutes.
So instead of playing for another title, and a No. 1 seed, the Spartans will head home while Ohio State plays either No. 24 Purdue or Illinois on Sunday for a shot at its second tournament crown in three years.
The Spartans had won both regular-season games against the Buckeyes fairly handily. But Ohio State controlled this one from the start. Turner, who leads the Buckeyes in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, couldn’t get his shot to fall in the first half, but it hardly mattered. He focused on the rest of his game, and let his teammates take over.
Turner finally scored with 18:30 to play, converting a three-point play that gave Ohio State a 40-31 lead. Draymond Green and Chris Allen made back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to 40-35 with 15:38 to play. But instead of panicking, the Buckeyes responded with a 20-9 run that showed every bit of their power.
P.J. Hill got it started with a 3, Dallas Lauderdale converted a three-point play and then scored on a reverse. Turner had the ball in the lane, but spotted Mullens open under the basket. Mullens made the layup and was fouled, converting another three-point play for Ohio State.
After another 3, this one by Jeremie Simmons, Michigan State called a timeout. But if the Spartans were hoping to stop Ohio State’s momentum, it didn’t work. Turner sandwiched buckets around a pair of free throws from Mullens, and Ohio State had a 60-44 lead with 7:49 to play.
Delvon Roe finally stopped the run with a layup, Michigan State’s first field goal in almost seven minutes, but it was too late by that point.