COLUMBUS, Ohio - A week ago, Ohio State got run off the floor at Wisconsin and was wondering what was happening to its season.
But now the Buckeyes have run off two straight victories, the latest an impressive 68-60 win over No. 4 Michigan State at Value City Arena on Sunday.
Aaron Craft scored 21 points and handed out six assists for No. 18 Ohio State (20-7, 10-5 Big Ten) and helped spark a 24-5 run in the second half that turned a nine-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
After Adreian Payne had put Michigan State ahead, 36-27, early in the second half, Craft went to work. He routinely beat the Michigan State defense on the ball screens and converted several layups while the Ohio State shooters started heating up.
Deshaun Thomas scored 14 points for the Buckeyes, hitting two big 3-pointers during the run.
Michigan State (22-6, 11-4), which lost consecutive games for the first time this season, cut the lead to two in the final three minutes but couldn't get over the hump.
Gary Harris scored 14 points for the Spartans while Payne added 12 points and 15 rebounds and Derrick Nix scored 12 points.
Michigan State closed the first half on a 6-0 run to take a 31-25 lead into the locker room. Ohio State's Sam Thompson had just tied the game with an impressive 3-point play before the Spartans went on their run, dunking on an inbounds play and converting the free throw.
However, the Spartans closed the half strong on a layup by Matt Costello and four straight points from Branden Dawson, including a dunk on a lob from Harris.
Dawson and Harris each had eight points for Michigan State while Payne had 10 rebounds in the first half, and Evan Ravenel had seven points to lead Ohio State.
Michigan State outrebounded Ohio State, 21-13, and shot 50 percent from the field while the Buckeyes were just 34 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Thomas, the leading scorer in the Big Ten, was just 1-for-8 from the field in the first half, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
NOTES: Michigan State junior guard Travis Trice played his second straight game after missing the previous four with concussion-like symptoms. He played just six minutes on Tuesday against Indiana but entered Sunday's game against Ohio State with 12:11 to play in the first half and saw five minutes of action. ... Ohio State's Thomas became the 24th player in school history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. ... Sunday's game was the second of four consecutive against ranked opponents for Michigan State