Ohio State basketball often struggles to get the attention of Buckeye fans until football season is in the rearview mirror.
Sunday afternoon at the Schottenstein Center, Chris Holtmann’s program showed OSU’s fanbase – and the rest of the nation – what they had been missing.
The Buckeyes didn’t just beat #1 Michigan State, they ran the Spartans right out of the building.
Keita Bates-Diop led the way with a career-high 32 points as Ohio State rolled to a 80-64 win.
The Buckeyes (13-4, 4-0 Big Ten) are tied with Purdue at the top of the conference standings. MSU falls to 15-2, 3-1 in Big Ten play.
The afternoon certainly didn’t start off looking like it was going to end with a Buckeye blowout. MSU jumped out to an 11-4 lead less than four minutes into the game, but OSU roared back with a 9-0 run, capped by a Bates-Diop three-pointer.
The Buckeyes took control of the game for good just before halftime. OSU scored 16 of the final 18 points of the first half, capped by Andrew Dakich’s banked-in shot from well beyond the arc as the clock expired.
The Bucks stretched their lead to 25 when Jae’Sean Tate laid it in with 10:25 left.
The game seemed to be on the verge of spiraling totally out of control a few moments later when MSU guard Jaren Jackson fouled out with 9:49 still left the play, but the Spartans kept things interesting. They went on a 10-0 run to cut OSU’s lead to 69-55.
But just as he had all day, Bates-Diop was there to take control. He threw down a thunderous dunk, MSU’s Nick Ward took a charge on the ensuing possession, and the Spartans never got closer than that 16-point deficit again.
It was the ninth win over a top-ranked team in Ohio State history, and the first since the Buckeyes won a 1 vs. 2 showdown with Wisconsin in 2007.
The Ozone will have much more coverage of the game, including photos, later tonight.
The Buckeyes are back home Thursday at 7:00 pm against Maryland.