for this game

Neitzel, Michigan State heading to Big Ten semis

Mar 14, 2008 - 10:43 PM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Drew Neitzel fared much better this time around.

Neitzel scored a season-high 28 points Friday, leading 19th-ranked Michigan State to the semifinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament with a 67-60 victory over Ohio State.

Freshman Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan each added eight points for the fourth-seeded Spartans (25-7), who avenged a 63-54 loss to the Buckeyes in their regular-season finale on Sunday.

"It was a tough game last weekend," Neitzel said. "It worked out funny how we played them in the last game and the first game of the tournament. As a player, you've got to forget about that (loss)."

Neitzel, who scored just six points Sunday, had more points in this one than in his two previous meetings with Ohio State this season.

"I got a chance to redeem myself, not only myself but the team got a chance to redeem ourselves, and we took advantage of the opportunity," Neitzel said.

Michigan State will face top-seeded Wisconsin in the semifinals on Saturday.

Neitzel, who shot 6-of-12 from the arc, knocked down a critical 3-pointer with 80 seconds remaining to double the Spartans' advantage to 61-55.

"This is the best I've felt," Neitzel said. "I just wanted to come out and be aggressive. I think in a lot of games this year I was aggressive at certain points, and other parts of games I sat back and let my teammates do the work."

The senior guard was the only Michigan State player to make a field goal in the final five minutes of the contest. But five free throws by Travis Walton - his only points in the game - in the last minute of the contest sealed the victory.

In what was a close contest throughout, the Buckeyes closed the game to 47-45 with 7:44 left on a 3-pointer by Jamar Butler.

But freshman Durrell Summers answered with a 3-pointer and a layup on consecutive possessions to give the Spartans a 52-45 edge with 6:50 remaining.

Freshman Kosta Koufos finished with 19 points and David Lighty added 12 for Ohio State (19-13), which had closed out its regular season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents.

Butler, who tallied 11 points for the Buckeyes, knocked down a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the first half as the teams went into the locker room deadlocked at 30-30.

"Obviously it was a hard-fought game," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Michigan State made some huge plays down the stretch. I thought the defense was off the charts there to start the second half."

Butler also became the all-time leader in career games played at Ohio State with 134, surpassing the record set by Jerry Francis.