Sunday, March 9, 2003

Mich. State 72, Ohio St. 58

Hot-shot Spartans top OSU; Buckeyes watch foe shoot 63 percent

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Look out, Big Ten. Here comes Michigan State. Chris Hill scored 20 points and Michigan State shot 63 percent from the field to beat Ohio State 72-58 on Saturday and enter the Big Ten Tournament on a four-game winning streak.

"We played against a superior team," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "I think Michigan State might be the best team in the league. I don't care how this whole thing got played out, but the way they've got it going now - with their numbers, their athleticism, their size, their bulk, their depth - they're a very, very good team."

The Spartans shot 77 percent (20-of-26) on shots inside the 3-point line.

Michigan State (18-11, 10-6 Big Ten) will be either a No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the conference tournament in Chicago.

"I do believe we deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "That was one of our goals, winning the last four."

Ohio State (14-13, 7-9) will be the eighth seed and will play Iowa in the opening round. The Buckeyes dropped to 4-4 in Big Ten home games this season, including a 71-64 to Iowa in their previous game at the Schottenstein Center.

Paul Davis added 12 points and Kelvin Torbert and Adam Ballinger each had 11 for the Spartans, who used a 9-0 run in the first half and an 8-0 burst in the second to win for the 16th time in the last 18 games between the teams.

"We felt like this was a game that wasn't necessarily a must-win situation, but a game that could really help us out," Hill said. "We knew it would take a lot of pressure off if we could win this game."

The Buckeyes' Brent Darby made 10 of 11 free throws and had 20 points, with Zach Williams adding 13 and Velimir Radinovic 10.

"This part of the season is over," said Darby, a Michigan native who was honored before the game as one of Ohio State's two departing seniors. "You've got the preconference, the conference and the tournament. We now have a clean slate and we'll see what we can get done there."

Ohio State trailed 45-33 after a 20-8 Michigan State run that included a 9-0 surge near the end of the first half.

The Buckeyes countered with a 10-0 run to pull to within 45-43 with 10:12 left, but could get no closer.

MICHIGAN ST. (18-11)-Anderson 1-1 6-6 8, Anagonye 3-3 0-2 6, Lorbek 0-0 0-0 0, Hill 7-12 4-5 20, Torbert 4-6 2-2 11, Johnson 1-1 0-0 2, Ager 0-1 0-0 0, Bograkos 0-0 0-0 0, Davis 4-6 4-6 12, Andreas 1-1 0-2 2, Westrick 0-0 0-0 0, Ballinger 3-7 4-4 11. Totals 24-38 20-27 72.

OHIO ST. (14-13)-Jenkins 1-4 0-3 2, Radinovic 3-6 4-4 10, Connolly 1-5 1-2 4, Darby 5-14 10-11 20, Sylvester 4-7 0-4 9, Fuss-Cheatham 0-4 0-0 0, Jernigan 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 5-6 3-4 13. Totals 19-47 18-28 58.

Halftime-Michigan St. 36, Ohio St. 29. 3-point goals-Michigan St. 4-12 (Hill 2-6, Torbert 1-1, Ballinger 1-4, Ager 0-1), Ohio St. 2-9 (Sylvester 1-1, Jernigan 0-1, Fuss-Cheatham 0-1, Darby 0-2). Fouled out-Davis. Rebounds-Michigan St. 28 (Andreas 7), Ohio St. 23 (Radinovic 6). Assists-Michigan St. 13 (Hill 4), Ohio St. 3 (Darby, Fuss-Cheatham, Williams 1). Total fouls-Michigan St. 26, Ohio St. 20. A-19,200.

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