No. 15 Spartans down No. 16 Buckeyes in 2 OTs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Michigan State had been here before --

overtime, away from home, with a game teetering on the brink.

Just like before, the Spartans reached down for a little extra.

Drew Neitzel hit a runner and two free throws in the final 44

seconds of the second overtime to lead Michigan State (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) to a

62-59 victory over Ohio State (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP) on Sunday night.

"I told them in the huddle that we played Gonzaga and Arizona --

we played all those overtime games and we've earned the right to

win the game," coach Tom Izzo said, referring to his team's games

against ranked teams in the Maui Invitational last November. "They

looked back at me and said, 'Damn right we did."

Even though the game featured two of the Big Ten's top three

offenses, both played physical, hands-on defense.

Paul Davis, who scored 18 points for the Spartans (14-4, 2-2),

cemented the lead with two free throws with 11 seconds left.

The Buckeyes' Jamar Butler then missed a 3-pointer and Matt

Sylvester -- who had earlier hit two big 3s to pull his team back --

failed on a short follow in the final seconds. Davis rebounded for

the Spartans, raising his arm in celebration while Izzo and his

staff hugged on the sideline.

"Even the officials looked at me before the game and said this

is special," Izzo said. "It was a big win."

The victory gave the Spartans a split in a grueling conference

start against four ranked teams -- three on the road. They lost at

Illinois and Wisconsin and beat Indiana at home.

"They've been in a lot of games like that," Sylvester said.

"They're very tough mentally and physically. I think it reflects

on the character of Tom Izzo."

Shannon Brown led Michigan State, which has won its last four

trips to Columbus, with 20 points. Davis had 12 rebounds, while

Matt Trannon had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Maurice Ager, averaging 21 points a game, mustered just two on

1-of-11 shooting.

Terence Dials led Ohio State (12-2, 2-2) with 19 points and 10

rebounds, with Sylvester adding 17 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind

the arc.

The Buckeyes' losses have come by two and three points to ranked


"It's not a game that makes or breaks our season," coach Thad

Matta said. "Just like any win or any loss, you have to look at it

quickly and move on. We have to find a way to get back."

The Buckeyes were hurt when leading scorer Je'Kel Foster fouled

out early in the second overtime. He had an off shooting night with

just eight points -- almost half his average -- but he had nine

rebounds, three assists and didn't have a turnover in 40 minutes.

"It killed us," Matta said of the loss of Foster.

Ohio State forced the first overtime by scoring the final four

points -- a jumper by Butler with 5:54 left and a sweeping

left-handed hook by Dials with 34 seconds left. Ager misfired over

Foster's tight defense with a second left.

The Spartans failed to score in the final 7:20 of regulation.

The Buckeyes managed just two baskets in the last 8:40 as the teams

traded body blocks and bruises.

In the first overtime, Ohio State trailed 50-48 before Sylvester

rebounded in traffic and muscled the ball back in with 15 seconds


The Spartans hurried the ball down the court before calling a

timeout. With the capacity crowd roaring, Davis put up a shot that

missed the mark and Ager tipped it. The ball bounced twice before

caroming away as the buzzer sounded.

"I thought we had it won a couple of times and let it slip

away," Izzo said.

In the second overtime, Trannon, a wide receiver on the football

team, scored the Spartans' first four points, with Brown hitting a

pull-up jumper for a 56-53 lead. Sylvester, the hero of Ohio

State's stunning upset of No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Illinois in

last year's final regular-season game, countered with a 3-pointer

for the Buckeyes to tie it.

With 44 seconds left, Neitzel drove the lane and banked in a

shot with a defender draped on his back. Sullinger missed at the

other end before Neitzel was fouled with 17 seconds left and hit

both to make it 60-56.

Sylvester hit an NBA-length 3 with 12 seconds left to cut the

lead to one, but Davis closed the scoring with his two foul shots.

"Both teams played hard. Both teams played great defense,"

Dials said. "Michigan State just made more plays at the end to win

the game. It was a battle."

The win was a flashback of sorts for the Spartans.

"I'm really excited," Izzo said. "A lot of our older players

were here. I felt like the old guys were back and we played our old