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January 19, 2013
Follow Noon | Givler | Axelrod | Birmingham
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Last time the Buckeyes went to the Breslin Center on the Michigan State campus, the team spotted the Spartans a 15-point lead and needed a last second shot by former Buckeyes William Buford to pull a victory out of the jaws of defeat. On Saturday the 2012-13 Buckeyes spotted the Spartans a 12-point lead to start the game and Ohio State clawed back and took the lead but eventually succumb after a last second shot by Shannon Scott did not fall and Ohio State (13-4, 3-2) fell to Michigan State (16-3, 5-1) 59-56.
Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 28 points on 10-20 shooting, including 6-11 from long distance but no other Buckeye broke the six point barrier and a team is not likely going to win many games with one player accounting for 50-percent of the scoring and no other player close to double-digit scoring.
Keith Appling led Michigan State with 15 points while Adreian Payne had 14 points as the Spartans had five players with eight points or more.
"We just weren't as strong as we needed to be in terms of finishing plays and connecting the dots the way we needed to," Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said of Ohio State's slow start. "I was proud of the way they fought back."
The game won't be remembered by many as a game where Ohio State started slow or came back or a game where both teams fought tooth-and-nail down the stretch but rather a game that ended with the Buckeyes missing a three pointer at the end off of the hands of Scott with close to four seconds left on the clock.
"You can't put any blame on Shannon, a three-point game doesn't come down to the last possession," guard Aaron Craft said. "Unfortunately that is what it looks like but there were mistakes we made throughout the entire game that happened in the first (half). We get down 12-0 at the beginning of the game and that is just as important as that last play."
Ohio State needed a solid play to even get to that position as the team was down by four points with 17 seconds left after Appling had a breakaway dunk after a Craft three-point attempt did not fall and the Spartans went up 57-53.
But the Buckeyes were not fazed and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. hit a three pointer with 13 seconds left to bring the Buckeyes back to within a point.
The Buckeyes were forced to foul and Appling went to the line to get the lead back to three points but the Buckeyes were 10-24 from distance at that point of the game and it appeared that Thomas would be the go-to-guy, and everyone knew that.
"Everyone knows that we needed a three," Craft said. "Obviously we have Deshaun and we subbed in LaQuinton Ross who can knock down some shots but they subbed as well."
Scott had proven to be an offensive weapon for Ohio State on the night and was on the court for Ohio State's entire 1st half comeback, even though he was held to five points of his own. He was not the guy that people were expecting to take the shot but it may have come down to Scott trying to make something happen in knowing that Thomas would be blanketed.
"I think in the heat of the moment coach said they were going to foul," Thomas said. "Tom Izzo is known for fouling, they only had eight, get us to the line and then throw it off the backboard and try to hit it.
"I think that is what Shannon tried to do and there was a play to kick it back but I think he was listening to what to coach said and to see if a guy was going to foul him and chuck it up there and try and get a three."
The shot did not go in and the Spartans were able to hold on to the three-point win and hang the Buckeyes with their second league loss of the season.
"Michigan State knew we were going to go to (Thomas) and they had locked down on him," Matta said. "Obviously, I would have liked to have got it there."
The entire team was emphatic after the game however that Scott's miss was not the backbreaker in the game and that sometimes the shots don't go down in league play, especially on the road and all of the little plays start to add up.
"In the Big Ten league, there are some plays that you have got to make," Thomas said "Little things, offensive rebounds? they got a couple of them, 50-50 balls? we just have to make plays down the stretch. In this league you have to do the little things to win ball games."
The Buckeyes return home and play next at Value City Arena against a streaking Iowa team that just defeated Wisconsin on Saturday night, 70-66.
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