Sunday, February 25, 2024

Taylor helps No. 5 Ohio State rout Michigan State

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Ohio State guard Rikki Harris, left, steals the ball from Michigan State guard Moira Joiner, front right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Celeste Taylor scored 20 points to lead four players in double figures as No. 5 Ohio State rolled to an 86-71 win over Michigan State on Sunday.

Rebeka Mikulasikova added 19, Jacy Sheldon 18 and Taylor Thierry 12 for the Buckeyes (21-3, 12-1 Big Ten), who led by as many as 33 points in the second half.

Theryn Hallock had 18 points and Julia Ayrault 10 for Michigan State (17-7, 7-6).

The Spartans led only once, when Hallock hit a free throw to complete a three-point play to give MSU a 13-12 lead with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State retook the lead on a 3-pointer by Taylor and never looked back.

“I just thought our offensive execution went to another level and we really got a lot of great shots during that stretch,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said.

Ohio State led 53-31 at the half and put the game out of reach with an 8-1 run to start the second half.

“It was a total stinker,” Michigan State coach Robin Fralick said. “Credit to Ohio State. I think they’re a very, very good team, very experienced, very talented, and I thought that tonight was the most disconnected we’ve played on both ends of the court.”

The Buckeyes shot 58% overall, while the Spartans hit 43% from the floor.

“With our pressure (defense) we got a lot of layups because we turned them over and then we made shots,” McGuff said. “But overall our offensive execution was really good, and I thought it led to great looks.”

The win was Ohio State’s 11th in a row and 12th in its last 13 games. Michigan State lost for the second game in a row.

“We’ve gotten a lot better since the first time we played them, especially coming out of the Christmas break,” McGuff said of his team’s sweep of Michigan State. “We’ve really improved significantly and I think that Cotie (McMahon) is playing a lot better. Celeste is really getting comfortable in the system, but we’re just playing at a higher level. And so you know, we’re just further along than we were the first time we played them.”

BIG PICTURE

Ohio State: The Buckeyes have yet to lose in 2024. Their last loss was a 69-60 defeat at Michigan on Dec. 30.

Michigan State: The Spartans, who were honorable mention in last week’s poll, likely will drop out altogether after two losses this week.

UP NEXT

Ohio State: hosts Nebraska on Wednesday.

Michigan State: at Michigan next Sunday.



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