COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — LaQuinton Ross scored 22 points and Aaron Craft added 12, including a late free throw, to lead Ohio State past No. 22 Michigan State 69-67 on Sunday.
Keith Appling’s jumper with 2 seconds left was off the mark for the Spartans, who failed to score over the final 4:30 as Ohio State scored the game’s final four points.
Adreian Payne scored 23 points, Gary Harris had 12 and Denzel Valentine 11 for the Spartans (23-8, 12-6 Big Ten), who have lost seven of their last 11.
Much-maligned center Amir Williams hit a free throw with 37.2 seconds left to put Ohio State (23-8, 10-8) ahead for good. Craft then added a free throw with 20.9 seconds remaining.
Both teams were seeking some traction heading into the postseason. The Buckeyes had dropped their last two on the road to second-tier Big Ten teams.
The setback at Michigan State in January ended Ohio State’s charmed first half, when it went 15-0 and was ranked No. 3. Including that loss, the Buckeyes lost five of six, then recovered to win six of their next seven before the two most recent losses, at Penn State and at Indiana.
Heading into the game, each team had won 10 of the last 20 meetings. The last six games were decided by a total of 24 points – and only one by more than four.