Ohio State hangs on for 61-58 win over Michigan State

Sets up Buckeyes versus Badgers in Big Ten title game Sunday

3/17/2013
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Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas goes up for a shot against Michigan State today at the United Center in Chicago.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas goes up for a shot against Michigan State today at the United Center in Chicago.
Ohio State's Deshaun Thomas goes up for a shot against Michigan State today at the United Center in Chicago.

CHICAGO — Ohio State will play for a Big Ten Tournament championship after Aaron Craft’s big second half led the No. 10 Buckeyes past eighth-ranked Michigan State 61-58 today at the United Center.

Craft scored 20 points — including 18 in the second half — as OSU built a 55-47 lead, then desperately held on to secure its seventh straight victory.

MSU pulled within a point at 57-56, but a Craft drive on the next possession set off a wild final sequence that smiled upon the Buckeyes. MSU was whistled for a flagrant foul, Craft made one of two free throws, and the Buckeyes kept the ball for the next minute-plus. A leaner by Deshaun Thomas put OSU ahead 60-56 with 22 seconds left.

Craft, who blistered MSU for 21 points in the Buckeyes’ win over the Spartans last month, finished 9-of-13 shooting with nine assists. OSU advances to play No. 22 Wisconsin in Sunday’s tournament final.