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Comeback falls short in OT

Comeback falls short in OT

/Image courtesy The Ohio State University Dept. of Athletics

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Ohio State gave itself a shot to stay undefeated, rallying from a 17-point deficit with 7-plus minutes left at Michigan State.

Aaron Craft had a lot to do with that.

Keith Appling, though, made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 29 seconds left in overtime and finished with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds to help the fifth-ranked Spartans beat the third-ranked Buckeyes 72-68 on Tuesday night.

“I’m proud we came back, but we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be in this caliber of a game,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “You can’t come on the road and have 21 turnovers.”

The Spartans (14-1, 3-0 Big Ten) led 55-38 and the Buckeyes forced overtime with a 20-3 run to close regulation. Michigan State did just enough in the extra period to earn its second win over a top three team.

Ohio State (15-1, 2-1) entered the day as one of six unbeaten teams in Division I, getting off to its best start since the 2010-11 season when it began 24-0.

The Buckeyes had a season-high 21 turnovers, leading to them not having a double-digit scorer until there was fewer than 4 minutes left in regulation. Sam Thompson finished with 18 points, including six straight late in regulation, and Loving scored 10 points.

The Buckeyes almost ended the night still undefeated after a remarkable comeback fueled by Craft, whose three-point play with 2:02 left in regulation pulled Ohio State within three points. On an inbounds play with 1:01 to play, Craft pulled a playground move, passing the ball off the backside of Michigan State’s Adreian Payne, getting the ball back and making a layup to cut the deficit to one.

Payne made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession, allowing Amir Williams’ putback dunk with 19 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Ohio State scored the first points of the extra period, taking its first lead since it was ahead 19-17, but gave up some pivotal 3-pointers.

Michigan State, which beat then-No. 1 Kentucky nearly two months ago, has won seven straight games since losing to North Carolina.

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