No. 23 Ohio State (19-9, 12-7) broke a two-game losing streak with a convincing 80-69 win over Michigan State (19-11, 10-9).
The Buckeyes entered the game shorthanded two key baseline players. Center Zed Key and forward Kyle Young were both unavailable for the game leaving the Buckeyes scrambling for some size. OSU Head Coach Chris Holtmann started little-used center Joey Brunk. The big man responded in a big way. He scored 18 points against MSU, 10 of them in the first half, and came down with six rebounds in what was clearly one of his best games of the season.
The Buckeyes opened the game with 13-0 run and really never looked back. MSU was able to make one serious run at the lead, cutting it to just two points at 27-25, but after a time out OSU went on a 9-0 run to reestablish a double-digit lead at 36-25. The half ended with OSU holding a 10 point lead at 43-33.
OSU extended the lead to as many as 15 in the second half and MSU never got closer than 10.
Malakai Branham led all scorers with 22 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the field. E.J. Liddell scored 19 and Jamari Wheeler 16. Wheeler scored 12 of his 16 in the first half when he went four of five from three point range. OSU shot the ball very well, hitting 55 percent (29 of 53) of their shots from the field and 45 percent (9 of 20) of their three point attempts. MSU shot 45 percent from the field and made 50 percent (9 of 18) of their three point attempts.
Photo of Joey Brunk courtesty of Ohiostatebuckeyes.com