Jan. 07, 2014
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Ohio State gave itself a shot to stay undefeated, rallying from a 17-point deficit with 7-plus minutes left at Michigan State.
Aaron Craft had a lot to do with that.
Keith Appling, though, made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in overtime and finished with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds to help the fifth-ranked Spartans beat the third-ranked Buckeyes 72-68 on Tuesday night.
“I’m proud we came back, but we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in this caliber of a game,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “You can’t come on the road and have 21 turnovers.”
The Spartans (14-1, 3-0 Big Ten) led 55-38 and the Buckeyes forced overtime with a 20-3 run to close regulation. Michigan State did just enough in the extra period to earn its second win over a top three team.
“I should be happier than I am,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “But I’m a big picture guy and you shouldn’t have those kinds of letdowns.”
Ohio State (15-1, 2-1) entered the day as one of six unbeaten teams in Division I, getting off to its best start since the 2010-11 season when it began 24-0.
The Buckeyes almost ended the night still undefeated after a remarkable comeback.
Craft’s three-point play with 2:02 left pulled the Buckeyes within three points. After Ohio State missed shots, the senior guard dived on the court to get a loose ball and called time out with 1:01 left.
“That’s what he does,” Matta said. “That’s how he plays.”
On the ensuing inbounds play, Craft passed the ball off Michigan State’s Adreian Payne’s backside, got the ball back and made a layup to cut the deficit to one.
“I did that a year ago,” Craft said of his savvy play that surprised Payne. “I saw it was open and we wanted to get a quick score.”
Payne made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession, allowing Amir Williams’ putback dunk with 19 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Ohio State scored the first points of the extra period, taking its first lead since it was ahead 19-17, but gave up some pivotal 3-pointers.
Michigan State redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski made a season-high third 3-pointer to break a tie with 2:40 left in overtime and Payne connected on a shot beyond the arc on the Spartans’ next possession.
Appling made two free throws with 14.4 seconds left to give Michigan State a three-point lead and Ohio State’s Marc Loving missed an off-balance 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. Appling made one of two free throws with one second to go.
“You can’t win them all, but this is something we have to grow from,” Craft said. “There’s two ways we can go as a team. We can let this get us in a downward spiral and have an even worse game on Sunday (at home against Iowa) or we can go in the other direction.”
The Buckeyes had a season-high 21 turnovers, leading to them not having a double-digit scorer until there was fewer than 4 minutes left in regulation. Sam Thompson finished with 18 points, including six straight late in regulation, and Loving scored 10 points.
Payne didn’t start because of a right foot sprain, but was healthy enough to play 32 minutes and score 18 points. Gary Harris scored 13 points for the Spartans, the first team to score 70-plus points against Ohio State this season. Travis Trice, one of the team’s top reserves, didn’t play because he was “sick,” according to Izzo. Appling played 43 of 45 minutes despite having cramps in both legs.
Michigan State, which beat then-No. 1 Kentucky nearly two months ago, has won seven straight games since losing to North Carolina.