CHICAGO (WCMH) — Ohio State continued its improbable run in the Big Ten Tournament beating Michigan State 68-58 Friday to advance to the semifinals.
The 13th-ranked Buckeyes become the lowest-seeded team in Big Ten Tournament history to advance to the semifinals.
OSU shot 44.6% from the field and buried 10 three pointers despite not having leading scorer Brice Sensabaugh who missed the quarterfinal game with knee soreness. His status against Purdue is unknown.
Freshman point guard Bruce Thornton was once again the difference maker for OSU dropping 21 points for an average of 18 points in his last seven games.
The Spartans started the first four minutes of the second half on a 10-3 run to pull within two points after trailing 33-24 at halftime. But the Buckeyes responded by going on a 15-5 run over the next eight minutes to take a 12-point lead with eight minutes left.
Sparty didn’t go down without a fight rallying for a 9-2 run to make it a six-point game with five minutes left. Once again, freshman Roddy Gayle Jr. stepped up in the last five minutes contributing seven points in the final three minutes and change to propel OSU to victory.
Michigan State ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage at 40%. But a combination of lockdown defense from OSU and missed open shots resulted in the Spartans only hitting three triples on 16 attempts.
Up next, the Buckeyes face No. 1 seed Purdue at 1:00 p.m. EST.