NCAAB: Ohio State aims to halt road skid in meeting vs. Michigan State

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A coaching change led to Ohio State’s biggest win of the season. The Buckeyes came crashing back to earth in their subsequent outing.

Their third game under interim coach Jake Diebler comes on Sunday afternoon when they visit Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.

Ohio State (15-12, 5-11 Big Ten) stunned conference leader Purdue 73-69 last Sunday in Diebler’s debut after the team fired Chris Holtmann. That was followed by an 88-79 road loss to Minnesota on Thursday.

“I thought our start and our end in the first half was the biggest difference,” Diebler said. “We didn’t start the game well enough and we didn’t finish the half well enough. Outside of that, I thought we competed. I thought we played hard. We certainly could’ve made some better decisions here or there, and we needed to rebound better. We just didn’t quite execute that well enough.”

Bruce Thornton made 10 of 14 shots from the floor and finished with 25 points on Thursday for the Buckeyes, who have now lost 17 consecutive road games. They will look to end that streak against the Spartans (17-10, 9-7).

Michigan State also lost its last game, falling to Iowa 78-71 on Tuesday. The Hawkeyes outscored Michigan State 40-28 in the paint.

“They absolutely killed every one of our post guys,” coach Tom Izzo said. “I have to come up with something better on that. We haven’t had that happen. And it was just layup after layup. … The number of layups missed and the number of layups they got was the difference in the game.”

The Spartans, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, trailed by 12 at halftime and never recovered.

“There was just an energy level that wasn’t there,” Izzo said. “We haven’t had many games where we just flat out didn’t bring it. (Tuesday), we flat out didn’t bring it.”

Malik Hall collected 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in a losing effort.

The game on Sunday will be the lone regular-season meeting between the Buckeyes and Spartans. The Buckeyes have lost their past nine games at Michigan State, with their most recent win in East Lansing coming on March 4, 2012.

–Field Level Media

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