Cassius Winston was nearly perfect on Sunday, scoring 27 points on 10-of-14 shooting and handing out six assists in No. 16 Michigan State’s 80-69 win over No. 19 Ohio State (21-10, 11-9). The Spartans wrapped up their regular season with a 22-9 mark overall and a 14-6 record in conference play.
Michigan State had four scorers in double figures. Freshman guard Rocket Watts scored 19, with six of those points coming via threes off the glass.
Ohio State was led on the scorerboard by Duane Washington’s 16 points. CJ Walker added 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Freshman forward EJ Liddell continued playing well, scoring 12 points in 29 minutes of action.
Michigan State opened with the first four points, to which the Buckeyes responded with the next seven, prompting the Spartans to then answer with a 12-0 run. In that run, Watts scored eight points, which included a banked-in three from the top of the key.
The Buckeyes cut it to six following an EJ Liddell basket that made it 16-10, but a Xavier Tillman jumper and three Cassius Winston free throws made it 21-10 at the 12:29 mark.
After a 5-0 OSU run, Watts banked in another three, this time from the wing. A little over a minute later, Winston added a three of his own to make it 29-19 with 8:59 remaining.
A Duane Washington three-pointer made it 32-24, which was then followed up by a CJ Walker layup. A pair of free throws from Kaleb Wesson cut it to 32-28 with 3:20 to play.
With an opportunity to make it a 2-point game, CJ Walker missed the front end of a one-and-one. Michigan State then went down the court and got a turnaround jumper at the buzzer from Tillman, making it 38-32 at the half.
The Spartans secured six offensive rebounds in the first half, converting them into 10 points. Ohio State, meanwhile, pulled down just one offensive rebound and turned it into nothing.
The Buckeyes opened the second half on a 4-0 run with a layup from Washington and a jumper from Andre Wesson. Three minutes later, Wesson tied the game on a post move. He was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw that would have given OSU a 43-42 lead.
Two minutes later, Winston hit a jumper following yet another offensive rebound. He then hit a three-pointer on MSU’s next possession to make it 49-44 with 13:24 remaining. After a pair of free throws from Duane Washington, Aaron Henry dropped in consecutive jumpers, giving MSU the 53-46 lead.
Liddell sank a three from the wing, but that was negated by another three from Winston. On MSU’s next possession, Rocket Watts made a three-pointer and was fouled by CJ Walker. Watts made the free throw to give the Spartans a 60-51 lead.
Things only got worse from there. Following a layup from Liddell to make it 64-56 with 6:57 remaining, the Spartans went on a 10-2 run over a 2-minute span to end any Buckeye hopes in this one.
Ohio State will next play in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. Their positioning will be determined by the winner of Iowa at Illinois Sunday night. If Illinois wins, the Buckeyes will be a 7-seed. If Iowa wins, OSU will be a 6-seed. Either way, they will play Thursday evening.
The full Big Ten Tournament bracket will be released Sunday night.