Posted: 4:18 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2013
By Luke Zimmermann
Behind a herculean effort from Ohio State junior Aaron Craft, the Buckeyes won the rubber game of their season series with Michigan State to reach their fifth straight Big Ten Tournament championship game. Craft was just 1-for-2 going into the half but bounced back in remarkable fashion during the second half to lead the Buckeyes to the victory. In addition to being downright surgical on passes in transition, Craft had easily his most important offensive game of the 2012-2013 men's basketball season. Deshaun Thomas wasn't the scoring machine he was during Ohio State's first matchup with the Spartans, but was the Buckeyes' second leading scorer despite a rough go at it from beyond the arc.
Michigan State had the diversity of offensive firepower we've come to expect from Tom Izzo's 2013 side. Adreian Payne, Derrick Nix, and Keith Appling all broke double digits in helping the Spartans battle the entirety of the afternoon with the Buckeyes. The Spartans gave a commenadable comeback effort after trailing by 8 with over three minutes to go, but a late flagrant one foul against Derrick Nix on Aaron Craft helped nip Michigan State's attempt in the bud.
The Buckeyes now move on to face old friend Bo Ryan and the fourth seeded Wisconsin Badgers tomorrow afternoon in the 2013 Big Ten Tournament championship game. Ohio State last won the Big Ten Tournament in 2011 while Wisconsin's last tournament title came in 2008. The game should tip a little after 3:30 p.m. EDT Sunday on CBS (channel 1010 HD/10 SD on Time Warner Columbus/Delaware).