The Ohio State Buckeyes forced a three-way tie for the regular season Big Ten Conference title, defeating the Michigan State Spartans, 72-70, on a long William Buford jumper with one second to go in the game. The Spartans led by as many as 15 points in the first half, and took a nine-point lead into halftime. Buford keyed a big comeback for the Buckeyes, scoring 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to lead Ohio State with 25 points.
The Spartans took a 70-68 lead with under a minute to go, but the extra attention paid on center Jared Sullinger left Aaron Craft wide open in the left corner for a long 2-pointer. A missed Green jumper gave the Buckeyes the ball back with 24.7 seconds on the clock. Craft dribbled the clock down before dumping the ball off to William Buford, who hit a long 2-pointer over Keith Appling near the top of the key to put the Buckeyes up 72-70 with one second to go.
The Buckeyes took the lead back for the first time since the early minutes of the game on a DeShaun Thomas layup with under 10 minutes to go in the game. The game featured nine lead changes from that point on. Both teams played tight throughout. The Spartans owned a slight advantage shooting from the floor, 45.5 percent to 42.1 percent for the game. The Buckeyes were strong from the free throw line, going 20-for-28 from the stripe.
Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green both missed extended minutes in the second half after picking up their fourth fouls. Both players started out 4-for-15 from the floor, but were counted on in key moments down the stretch. Sullinger had three rebounds, a tip-in and a key assist after returning with three minutes to go. Green scored the Spartans' final four points to lead the team with 19 for the game.
For more on the Spartans, check out Michigan State blog The Only Colors and SB Nation Detroit. For fans' takes and analysis of the Buckeyes, visit Along The Olentangy. For everything on the Big Ten, head to Off Tackle Empire.