No. 9 Ohio St. 74, No. 11 Michigan St. 67

Ohio State’s Evan Turner was dealing with a head cold and

flulike symptoms when he arrived at Michigan State for a crucial

Big Ten road game.

He left town feeling much better after the Buckeyes earned a

74-67 victory Sunday.

Turner had a strong second half and finished with 20 points and

10 rebounds to tighten the conference standings. The No. 9 Buckeyes

(21-7, 11-4) and No. 11 Spartans (21-7, 11-4) are tied for second

place in the Big Ten, a half-game behind Purdue.

Turner rested in the bleachers while the rest of the Buckeyes

took shooting practice Saturday night. Turner got a plateful of

food – then didn’t eat it – Sunday morning.

“He did a tremendous job of battling through it,” Ohio State

coach Thad Matta said of his star, who leads the Big Ten in scoring

and rebounding. “You have to give him a lot of credit for how he

played. I thought he was a little bit off there at the beginning.

He had some great looks. But there were no legs.”

Turner scored 16 points in the second half.

William Buford had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Buckeyes,

who squandered a 14-point second-half lead before rallying for the

victory.

Durrell Summers scored 16 points for Michigan State, including

seven straight to give the Spartans a 62-61 lead with 4:05

remaining.

Buford hit two free throws to put the Buckeyes back on top

63-62. Turner’s jumper gave Ohio State a 65-62 lead with 2:55

left.

Jon Diebler hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to put the Buckeyes

ahead 68-62. Michigan State couldn’t rally back, dropping a home

game that leaves it needing a strong finish to repeat as conference

champions.

“Disappointed would be a foolish word right now,” Michigan

State coach Tom Izzo said. “It’s more than that.”

Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas went 0 for 5 from the floor and

scored just one point in the first half before finishing with nine

points in the game. Raymar Morgan had nine points and 14

rebounds.

The Buckeyes stayed in the Big Ten race by winning on the road

against a much deeper team. Ohio State used just six players

Sunday.

The Buckeyes quieted the Breslin Center crowd with a big run

midway through the first half to grab a 23-12 lead. Buford had nine

points in the first 12 minutes, while Dallas Lauderdale had three

dunks off half-court sets.

Turner made only one of his first eight shots and scored just

four points in the first half. But his teammates helped out and the

Buckeyes took a 39-26 halftime lead.

“It showed we can score,” Turner said of the solid team

effort. “It’s not just me. It’s all the guys. They made a lot of

good plays.”

Ohio State outrebounded Michigan State 41-38.

The Spartans made just 9 of 27 shots in the first half, while

committing nine turnovers. Michigan State protected the ball better

and shot better in the second half, but the damage had been

done.

“We fought back, but it’s the same story,” said Michigan

State’s Draymond Green, who finished with 11 points. “They made

plays down the stretch. We didn’t.”

Michigan State has the week off before traveling to Purdue for a

Feb. 28 matchup. That game was going to be huge for Michigan

State’s title hopes regardless of what happened against the

Buckeyes.

“Our situation was really going to be the same,” Izzo said.

“We have to beat Purdue down there, either way.”

Ohio State plays at Penn State and then hosts Michigan later

this week.