CHICAGO (AP) — Spartan point guards factor in win.
Cassius Winston scored 18 points, Foster Loyer provided a lift off the bench with a career-high 14 points, and No. 6 Michigan State gave Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo his 600th career win, a 77-70 victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday.
With their sights set on a sixth conference tournament title and a deep NCAA run, the Spartans (26-6) pulled away in the second half for their third win over the Buckeyes (19-14) this season. They will meet the Nebraska-Wisconsin winner in the semifinals on Saturday.
Izzo improved to 600-231 in 24 seasons.
Winston, the Big Ten Player of the Year, had seven rebounds and five assists.
Loyer nailed 4 of 5 3-pointers in 18 minutes after making just 4 of 20 during the regular season.
The freshman guard’s previous best was 10 points against Green Bay on Dec. 16, and he had not played more than 12 minutes in a game. But he scored nine points in the first half and hit some key shots down the stretch on Friday.
The Buckeyes lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Keyshawn Woods scored 16 points for Ohio State, and Andre Wessson had 14. But his brother Kaleb Wesson fouled out with seven points and three rebounds midway through the second half.
Ohio State went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to grab a 40-38 lead. But the Spartans responded by scoring nine straight, with Loyer hitting a 3 and pull-up jumper to make it 47-40 with just under 15 minutes left.
A 3 by Kenny Goins and a layup by Aaron Henry made it 56-46 midway through the half.
Kaleb Wesson fouled out with 9:42 left when he bumped Winston going for the loose ball after missing a shot for Ohio State.
It was 61-49 when Henry threw down an alley-oop dunk off a long feed from Winston, drawing a roar from a large contingent of Spartans fans. Michigan State led by as many as 21 before going cold over the final four minutes, allowing the Buckeyes to trim the margin.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes can feel better about their NCAA Tournament hopes thanks to their win over Indiana on Thursday.
Michigan State: The Spartans took a while to get rolling. But they sure looked good once they did. If they keep this up, a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs might be in reach.
Ohio State: Awaits a postseason bid.
Michigan State: Plays the Nebraska-Wisconsin winner in the semifinals on Saturday.
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