Ohio State hosted the Michigan State Spartans last night at Value City Arena, as Ohio State was trying to rebound from losing two straight games. Michigan State lost their previous game against Michigan. Buckeyes freshman Malaki Branham knocked down a three to start the game. Branham has been playing great basketball as of late, as last week he was named the Big Ten Freshman of the week. Ohio State got off to a 13-0 run, which prompted Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to take a timeout. Ohio State made four out of their first four shot attempts from three-point land. Michigan State would battle back and cut the Ohio State lead down to just four points. Ohio State was leading Michigan State 43-33 at halftime.
Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell picked up where they left off. They both scored on Ohio State’s first couple of possessions. Ohio State would widen its lead. The Buckeyes got production from an unlikely contributor in Joey Brunk. Brunk was in the lineup for Kyle Young, who is still out from an illness. Brunk also helped on the defensive side, as he caused turnovers. Ohio State scored 16 points over turnovers, with more than 14 minutes remaining in the game. Malaki Branham took over this game as he sliced through defenders and scored at will. Michigan State tried to double team E.J. Liddell, which only opened up the floor more for Ohio State. Ohio State made Michigan State pay the price.
Ohio State was running away with this game and looking like they were back to the dominant team they were earlier in the season. Ohio State beat Michigan State 80-69. Ohio State had four players score double-digit points. Malaki Branham is a star in the making, and he scored 22 points, Liddell scored 19 points, Brunk, who scored just four points in his last eight games, chipped in 18 points. Guard Jamari Wheeler collected 16 points. This is a team that has a chip on their shoulder, as they know they have so much left to prove this season. Coach Chris Holtman must be relieved to see this type of performance from his team. The win improves Ohio State’s record to nineteen wins and nine losses and a conference record of twelve wins and seven losses. Ohio State currently sits in 5th place in the conference and will host Michigan for the final regular-season game before the Big Ten Tournament begins next Wednesday.
Buckle up Buckeye fans this could be a fun ride.