2012 Ohio State Basketball
Buford's Bucket Brings Big Ten Title
Exactly one week ago, Ohio State's only senior, William Buford, suffered a heartbreaking loss to Wisconsin in his final home game as a Buckeye.
On Sunday, Buford's final regular season game with the scarlet and grey ended much differently.
Buford made a high-arcing jumper from the top of the key with one second left to lift the 10th-ranked Buckeyes to a 72-70 win over the fifth-ranked Michigan State Spartans to forge a three-way tie for the Big Ten championship with the Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines.
"I was fortunate to knock down the big shot of the night to give us another Big Ten title," Buford said after the victory.
Buford led the Buckeyes by scoring 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, giving the Spartans their first loss at home this season.
"I just came in with a different mindset," Buford said. "During that last play, I wasn't going to miss."
Jared Sullinger added 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting and Deshaun Thomas scored nine of his 12 points in the second half.
Michigan State was led by Green who finished 6-of-18 from the field with 19 points, 12 rebounds and a game-high four turnovers.
Brandon Wood scored 15 points and Derrick Nix had 11 off the bench, while Keith Appling was held to two of his 11 points after halftime for the Spartans, who lost standout freshman Branden Dawson in the first half with an injured left knee.
Michigan State came out of the gates on fire and led 24-9 midway through the first half.
The Buckeyes on-the-other-hand were struggling. Sullinger missed his first five shots and was 2-of-10 in the first half, but stayed active and aggressive enough to make all four of his free throws and to score eight points in helping Ohio State cut the deficit down to a manageable nine points going into the break.
The Buckeyes scored the first six points of the second half and went ahead 52-51 with 9:53 left to take their first lead since scoring the game's first two points.
For the rest of the game, each team took turns with small leads, exchanging shots while going through nine lead changes and seven ties. The final tie of the game being broken by Buford's clutch game-winning jumper.
As mentioned, with the victory the Buckeyes (25-6, 13-5) earned a share of their third straight conference championship, their fifth in seven years. They also forced the Spartans (24-7, 13-5) to settle for just a piece of it and ended a quarter-century drought for No. 13 Michigan.
Heading into the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on Thursday, Michigan State will be the top-seeded team while Michigan will be No. 2 and Ohio State No. 3.
> Find more Big Ten football news online at Big Ten Fans!