Freshman guard Foster Loyer scored a career-high 14 points and sparked No. 6 Michigan State to a 77-70 victory over Ohio State on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
The Spartans (26-6), the tournament’s top seed, advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, where they will face No. 19 Wisconsin.
Loyer made his first four 3-pointers and played a career-best 18 minutes. Cassius Winston, named Big Ten Player of the Year this week, rebounded from a slow start to score 18 points while grabbing seven rebounds and handing out five assists. Matt McQuaid added 12 points for the Spartans.
Keyshawn Woods scored 16 for the Buckeyes (19-14), but he was in foul trouble much of the game along with big man Kaleb Wesson, who fouled out midway through the second half and scored only seven points. Andre Wesson added 14 points for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State looked like the team that already had played a game in the tournament, jumping on the Spartans early and taking a 15-11 lead after a 3-pointer from C.J. Jackson.
That’s when Michigan State started to come to life, thanks to the play of Loyer, who hit all three of his 3-pointers in the first half and drew a charge on Woods for his third foul. The Spartans eventually took a three-point lead on Loyer’s second 3-pointer and pushed that to 32-27 on the first bucket from Winston with 1:53 left in the half. Winston scored the next four around a 3-pointer from Duane Washington to give Michigan State a 36-30 lead at halftime.
Ohio State took over again to open the second half, going on a 10-2 run to grab a 40-38 lead. But Loyer got rolling again, scoring five straight at one point as Michigan State took over control of the game, taking a 54-46 lead on a Kenny Goins 3-pointer with 11:06 to play.
The lead grew to 10 on a dish from Winston to Aaron Henry in transition and the Spartans began to pour it on, going up 75-54 with five minutes to play after a layup from Xavier Tillman. Ohio State responded with a 16-0 run to trail 75-70, but Michigan State added two Winston free throws in the closing seconds.
—Field Level Media