“Defense not only travels — sometimes it works at home too,” Izzo said.
Kenny Goins had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 11 Michigan State finished the game with a 20-2 run, beating Ohio State 62-44.
Matt McQuaid scored 14 points for the Spartans and Cassius Winston added 13. Michigan State won despite an injury to Nick Ward, who hardly played in the second half and appeared to have a wrap on one of his hands.
“He might’ve dislocated a finger or something here,” Izzo said. “I won’t know until they go through all the medical procedures what that is, but it was a problem for us the second half.”
Michigan State (21-5, 12-3) pulled into a first-place tie with rival Michigan atop the Big Ten, holding Ohio State to 13 points in the second half. The Buckeyes (16-9, 6-8) led by six at the break but shot 4 of 21 from the field the rest of the way.
“It was all on defense,” McQuaid said. “We weren’t getting clean rebounds in the first half. We did a better job in the second of securing the ball and running.”
It was tied at 42 when Michigan State’s Kyle Ahrens sank a 3-pointer that started a 10-0 run.
Kaleb Wesson scored 12 points for Ohio State, but he failed to take
advantage of Ward’s absence and foul trouble to Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman.
The teams combined for 58 free throws when the Spartans won at Ohio State last month. There were only 21 on Sunday, but there was no shortage of physicality inside.
“I’m not used to getting fouls anyway,” Wesson said. “I get fouled almost every possession if you look at the film.”
Ohio State: A win would have done quite a bit to boost Ohio State’s NCAA Tournament hopes, and the Buckeyes certainly were in decent shape after 20 minutes. But a dreadful second half left Ohio State well short of an upset.
Michigan State: It was a convincing home victory for the Spartans, although Ward’s injury could be a problem going forward. Goins scored all 10 of his points in the second half and was impressive on both ends of the court.
The game was tied at 39 when Michigan State went with a lineup of Goins, McQuaid, Ahrens and freshmen Foster Loyer and Thomas Kithier. Ward was out, Tillman had four fouls and Winston was getting some rest.
When Winston came back in, the Spartans were up 50-42.
C.J. Jackson made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 42, but Ohio State went the final 7½ minutes without a field goal. In that span, the Buckeyes had only five shot attempts from the field and turned the ball over six times.
It was Ohio State’s lowest point total since a 65-43 loss to Wisconsin on Dec. 31, 2009.
“We tried a variety of things,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “Tried playing through the post, tried playing through Kaleb, tried playing through Andre (Wesson) a few times.”
The Spartans have won three straight after a three-game losing streak, and they’ll likely move back into the top 10.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are back home against Northwestern on Wednesday night.
Michigan State: The Spartans host Rutgers on Wednesday night.