Michigan State tops Ohio State for fifth straight win
Keith Appling scored 15 points, including the go-ahead layup in the final minute, as No. 17 Michigan State extended its winning streak to five games with a 59-56 victory over No. 11 Ohio State at Breslin Center on Saturday.
Adreian Payne had 14 points and Branden Dawson added nine points and 10 rebounds for the Spartans (16-3 overall, 5-1 Big Ten). Michigan State is 12-0 at home.
Buckeyes junior forward Deshaun Thomas, the conference's leading scorer at 20.3 points per game, led his club with 28 points. The Buckeyes (13-4, 3-2) hadn't played since defeating then No. 2 Michigan 56-53 on Sunday, denying the Wolverines an opportunity to gain the No. 1 ranking. Aaron Craft made five steals to tie Ohio State's all-time steals record of 204 set by Jay Burson (1986-89).
Dawson had two putbacks during an 8-1 Spartans spurt to give them a 42-36 lead. Thomas responded with his third 3-pointer of the second half but Michigan State maintained the lead until another Thomas 3-pointer with 2:51 left forged a 50-50 tie.
Payne's three-point play after Thomas unsuccessfully tried for a steal put the Spartans back on top with 2:05 remaining. Craft then forced two turnovers and his club made three free throws to tie it again.
Appling's driving layup with 41.5 seconds left put Michigan State in front, 55-53. Craft missed a 3-pointer and Appling made a fast-break dunk for a four-point advantage. Lenzelle Smith's 3-pointer cut it to one with 10.8 seconds remaining but Appling responded with two free throws. Shannon Scott's off-balance 3-pointer then failed to hit the rim.
The Spartans scored the last six points of the first half to grab a 30-26 halftime lead. Michigan State got off to a quick start, holding Ohio State scoreless for the first 4:40 while scoring the first 10 points.
Thomas didn't score until he made a 3-pointer over Payne with 12:50 left in the half, but he wound up with 10 points at halftime. Ohio State's nine turnovers led to its halftime deficit.
After Craft's layup gave Ohio State a 26-24 advantage, Appling scored back-to-back baskets on a layup and pull-up jumper. Spartans reserve guard Travis Trice completed the first-half scoring with a steal and layup.
The teams tied with Michigan for the Big Ten regular-season title last season before the Spartans defeated the Buckeyes for the conference tournament championship.
NOTES: Ohio State had won three of the last four meetings at East Lansing. ... Ohio State was the first of eight ranked opponents that Michigan State will play over the next 11 games. ... Thomas averaged 7.8 points on 29.7 percent shooting in his four prior games against Michigan State. ... The Spartans had out-rebounded all but one of their previous 18 opponents this season. ... Appling was shooting just 30.8 percent in conference games. ... Spartans coach Tom Izzo has a 21-11 record against Ohio State.
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