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No. 5 Ohio State manages to hold off Michigan State

January 28, 2007|From the Associated Press

Ohio State just had too big a head start.

Greg Oden scored 19 points, including several key second-half free throws, and the fifth-ranked Buckeyes nearly blew a 20-point halftime lead before holding off Michigan State, 66-64, on Saturday night at Columbus, Ohio.

"That was a tale of two halves," Ohio State Coach Thad Matta said. "The first half we played some great basketball. But Michigan State didn't go away."

Maurice Joseph's three-point basket with just over a second left bounced off the rim, preserving the win for the Buckeyes (18-3 overall, 6-1 Big Ten Conference), who won their fifth straight overall and 21st in a row at home.

They also ended Michigan State's four-game winning streak in Columbus.

Drew Neitzel, the smallest guy on the court, almost led Michigan State (17-5, 4-3) to a dramatic comeback win.

He scored 24 of his 29 points in the second half to draw the Spartans, whose four-game winning streak ended, to within a point with less than a minute left.

Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said it was a performance that would go down in history.

"He kept making shot after shot. He made some big plays. He's a big-time player."

Neitzel continually hit clutch shots, regardless of who was guarding him.

"It was tough," said Jamar Butler, one of the players assigned to try to stop him. "He was coming off a lot of screens. We did the best we could. We got the win, and that's all that matters."

Oden, shooting free throws left-handed while he recuperates from surgery to repair ligament damage in his right wrist, made one with 15.3 seconds left to put Ohio State ahead, 66-64. He made eight of 10 in the second half when the Buckeyes were struggling on offense.

Arkansas 63, No. 12 Alabama 57 -- The Razorbacks were determined to earn their first road victory in the Southeastern Conference -- and it showed. They dominated the Crimson Tide for 30 minutes before hanging on to win at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"We're fed up with losing, especially on the road. We came out and played hard. We're good when we play hard," said guard Sonny Weems, who had 16 points to help Arkansas improve to 1-3 in SEC road games.

Arkansas (14-7, 3-4 SEC) outmuscled Alabama (15-5, 2-4) in the paint as 7-footer Steven Hill pulled down 16 rebounds.

The Razorbacks held a seemingly insurmountable 51-27 lead with 10:50 left when the Crimson Tide started its rally and outscored Arkansas, 30-12, the rest of the way.

No. 13 Oklahoma State 62, Iowa State 50 -- The Cowboys (18-3, 4-2 Big 12 Conference) overcame a poor first half at Stillwater, Okla., to beat the Cyclones (11-9, 2-4) on the sixth anniversary of the plane crash that killed 10 men connected with the Oklahoma State's basketball program. It was the first time since the crash that the Cowboys have played on Jan. 27. They ended a three-game home losing streak to teams from the conference's North Division.

Loyola, Md. 71, Iona 61 -- The Gaels, the only winless NCAA Division I team, dropped to 0-20, falling to the Greyhounds in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Greyhounds (12-8, 8-2) held Iona to one basket during a nine-minute stretch late in the first half and early in the second. The Gaels fell to 0-10 in conference play.

Post 83, Philadelphia 67 -- Herb Magee will have to wait at least one more game before making history -- his Rams lost at Waterbury, Conn., leaving him one win short of the NCAA Division II record for coaching victories.

Magee tied former Winston-Salem (N.C.) coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines with 828 wins Wednesday when Philadelphia beat Holy Family. Both rank sixth in victories among all NCAA men's coaches.

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