Battling back from down 17 points only to come up short and have an undefeated season come to an end?
It feels a little all too familiar for Ohio State fans, doesn't it?
But against Michigan State nonetheless, that's exactly the situation the Buckeyes found themselves on Tuesday after an amazing second half comeback wasn't enough to keep No. 3 Ohio State (15-1, 2-1) unscathed. Just like their football counterpart a month ago, the Buckeyes' undefeated season received its first blemish against the fifth-ranked Spartans (14-1, 3-0), who came away from Tuesday's Big Ten battle with a 72-68 overtime victory.
The thought of Michigan State needing extra time to seal its victory seemed unfathomable with 10 minutes remaining in the game, as the Spartans took a 55-38 point lead with just more than seven minutes remaining in the game.
MSU's advantage of 17 points, however, wasn't enough to hold off the Buckeyes, who finished the half on a 20-3 run that was spearheaded by a series of highlight reel-worthy plays by point guard Aaron Craft. Perhaps no play defined the OSU senior's headiness more than his inbounds pass off of Adreian Payne's backside with 59 seconds remaining that led to a layup to cut the Spartans' lead to one and that came just moments after he dove on a loose ball and called a timeout to earn a possession for OSU.
Payne pushed the MSU advantage to two with a free throw, but OSU center Amir Williams evened things up with a dunk off of a Craft missed layup on the ensuing possession. Buckeyes guard Shannon Scott stole the ball from Keith Appling with six seconds left in the game, but it wasn't enough time for him to get a clean look at a potential game-winning shot.
Overtime proved to be equally as exciting, with Michigan State gaining a five-point lead with 1:51 remaining, which was quickly erased by a Craft layup and a Sam Thompson 3-pointer. Ohio State, however, didn't have much left in the tank after that, with MSU ending the game on a 6-0 run and Gary Harris hitting what proved to be the game's winning shot with 34 seconds remaining.
Appling served as the game's leading scorer, with 20 points and seven assists to his credit for the Spartans, while Thompson led the way for the Buckeyes with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench. True freshman Marc Loving was the only other OSU player to score in double-digits (10) for the Buckeyes, who were hampered by a 4-for-18 performance from beyond the 3-point arc.
With its first loss of the season in the books, Ohio State will now look to rebound on Sunday, when the Buckeyes host Iowa for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff at the Schottenstein Center.