for this game

Ohio St. completes regular-season sweep of Michigan St.

Feb 4, 2007 - 1:20 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Ohio State coach Thad Matta's team was not impressed with Michigan State's previous home-court dominance.

Greg Oden had 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Ron Lewis sparked a second-half spurt to lead No. 4 Ohio State to its seventh straight win, a 63-54 victory over Michigan State.

The Buckeyes (20-3, 8-1 Big Ten), who pulled away from a tied contest with 12 minutes to play, completed a regular-season sweep of the Spartans to become the first road team to win here in 15 games this season. The victory enabled Ohio State to remain tied with Wisconsin for the top spot in the conference standings.

"I thought our guys made some big plays down the stretch," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "The adjustments we made from game one I felt were pretty good for us.

"When you get in this environment, when you're playing a great team like Michigan State, we told our guys in the last seven minutes of the game, 'Hey fellas, we have to make plays.' Fortunately, we were able to do that."

Although they nearly blew a 20-point first-half lead in their last encounter last Saturday, the Buckeyes again came out with a strong start. Oden scored seven points and Mike Conley Jr. hit a 3-pointer as Ohio State jumped out to an early 10-2 bulge.

Michigan State (17-7, 4-5) stayed within striking distance, thanks to Goran Suton, who scored 12 points in the opening half, including seven consecutive for the Spartans, who trailed, 26-21, at the break.

Jamar Butler nailed a 3-pointer with 15:41 remaining to give Ohio State a 37-30 lead before Michigan State's Drew Neitzel capped a 9-2 burst with a basket from the arc with 12:20 left to tie the score, 39-39.

However, Lewis scored seven straight points and Othello Hunter added four to highlight a 16-7 spurt that gave Ohio State a 55-46 advantage with 5:06 to go.

"I thought Ron was big down the stretch," Matta said. "That was the thing we wanted him to understand, to slow things down and ... letting it come to him, because he is explosive. If he can get an inch, I think he can get by."

"I'm very disappointed in how we played, and I was impressed with how they played," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "I just felt like it was a game where we had too many guys that just didn't play well enough. We were really proud of our effort and performance down in Columbus, but we just struggled all day long."

Conley and Butler scored 10 points apiece for the Buckeyes, who had a 33-29 rebounding advantage.

Neitzel scored 24 points on 7-of-18 shooting - with 21 points in the second half - and Suton had 16 with 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who dropped their third straight game.

"That is a very good Ohio State team," Izzo said. "We probably did decent on some of the things. Oden went a little crazier but we did a decent job defending him.

"We held them to 37 percent shooting, but turnovers were poor and the execution of a couple critical plays were poor. Against a team like that, we're not going to win doing that."