East Lansing – OSU led most the way and by as many as nine in the second half but fell 71-67 to MSU as the Spartans were allowed to muscle their way through the final minutes of play to take the win.
The Buckeyes did not trail in the second half until MSU’s Malik Hall made two free throws to give the Spartans a 64-63 lead with 2:32 left on the game clock. OSU never regained the lead as the game was played out with a tremendous amount of contact and some curious officiating calls that left OSU Head Coach Chris Holtmann furious. Holtmann was whistled for two technicals in the game and was ejected after the second one as he expressed his displeasure to the officials.
The Buckeyes had a chance to tie the game in the waining seconds of regulation when Duane Washington drove to the rim for an attempted layup nd OSU trailing by two. Washington appeared to be heavily bumped on the play and the shot went awry, but there was no whistle and MSU grabbed the rebound to effectively end the game. The play precipitated Holtzmann’s second technical.
Earlier in the game Washington appeared to have made a three point field goal as the shot clock wound down. The play was reviewed and it appeared that the shot got off in time but waved off by the offiicials and instead of three points the play resulted in a shot clock violation for a turnover. Holtmann was also in the ear of the officials in the contact that was allowed on OSU sophomore center E.J. Liddell. Liddell was guarded very physically by the Spartans, so much so that Holtmann drew his first technical for a no-call involving Liddell.
The physical play favored MSU, especially with the absence of Kyle Young from the Buckeye lineup. Young did not play due to concussion he sustained late in the game against Michigan. That left OSU short one of their most physical baseline players. In his absence freshman Zed Key got increased minutes and responded well, but Young’s strength and maturity and pysicality was definitely missed against the Spartans. As the game wound down and became more and more physical the Buckeyes could not effectively match up.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well but MSU helped its offensive efficiency with 19 assists on 24 made field goals.
EJ. Liddell led the OSU scoring with 18 points and added a team-high eight rebounds. Duane Washington wasn’t far behind with 17 points. Justice Sueing got into double figures with 10 points. C.J. Walker had 12 points and a team-high five assists.