Buckeyes Fall To Spartans in Big Ten Tournament Finals, 68-64
Jared Sullinger scored 18 points.
March 11, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS (AP)- Brandon Wood scored a season-high 21 points to help No. 8 Michigan State defeat No. 7 Ohio State 68-64 on Sunday in the Big Ten tournament championship game.
Draymond Green, who had 12 points and nine rebounds in the final, was named the most outstanding player of the tournament. The Spartans (27-7) claimed their first tournament title since 2000 in a dramatic game that featured 16 lead changes.
The teams shared the regular-season title with Michigan.
Wood transferred to Michigan State after graduating from Valparaiso last year with eligibility remaining. He received a waiver from the NCAA to play immediately because he entered graduate school. He only started because starter Branden Dawson tore a left knee ligament in the regular-season finale against Ohio State.
Buford hit a game-winner with 1 second left to help the Buckeyes defeat the Spartans 72-70 on Michigan State's home court in the regular-season finale to claim a share of the title and prevent the Spartans from winning it outright.
Sullinger averaged 24 points and nine rebounds for the tournament.
Sullinger committed his second foul with 8:22 left in the first half. At that point, the Buckeyes led 18-17. Michigan State appeared to grab momentum late in the half. A putback by Green and a layup by Keith Appling late in the half gave the Spartans a 34-29 lead.
Aaron Craftscored on a putback, then Buford made a free throw after Michigan State coach Tom Izzo was issued a technical foul for disagreeing with a call, and the Spartans led 34-32 at halftime.
Sullinger immediately changed things for the Buckeyes, scoring nine points in the first 7 minutes of the second half. He made a jumper, Appling missed a layup on the other end and Thomas made a 3-pointer to put Ohio State ahead 52-45.
Wood answered with two 3-pointers to put the Spartans back ahead, highlighting a 10-0 run.
Late in the shot clock, Green found Wood under the basket. He caught the ball in midair while under the basket, and his reverse layup gave the Spartans a 62-57 lead with 7:27 to play.
Green's 3-pointer with 1:30 remaining put the Spartans up 67-62.
As good as Sullinger was throughout the tournament, his final minute was one to forget. He missed in close twice against Green, then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 25 seconds remaining.
Austin Thornton's free throw with 12.7 seconds left put the Spartans up 68-64 and started the celebration for Michigan State's fans.