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Spartan miscues help Craft, Buckeyes slide into Big Ten final

Mar 16, 2013, 6:34 PM EDT

Spartans guard Harris is guarded by Buckeyes guard Craft during the first half of their NCAA men's college basketball game at the 2013 Big 10 tournament in Chicago Reuters

Aaron Craft can be a first-class irritant. He’ll be in the opposing player’s face from minute one of a game.

That doesn’t mean you can smack him in the neck, however.

That’s what Derrick Nix did with less than two minutes remaining in the Big Ten semifinal, earning himself a Flagrant 1 at a crucial moment. The resulting free throws added to Craft’s stellar day, pushing him over 20 points in the contest.

Nix wasn’t the only goat for the Spartans, however. Mere moments prior, Adreian Paine decided to roll the ball in-bounds to Appling. The only problem there was that it was far too early in the game to attempt such a maneuver, and even if it had been warranted, Appling was looking at his bench at the time, and had no idea the ball was coming his way. Buckeye Shannon Scott swooped in and snatched the ball off the hardwood, forcing Payne to foul him.

Upperclassman cool was the order of the day for Ohio State, which was led by Craft’s 20 points, eight assists and four steals. It was Craft’s biggest game since February 24th, when he scored 21 points against… Michigan State. DeShaun Thomas had a 16 point, seven rebound day in support of Craft.

The Buckeyes advance to face Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. The teams split during the regular season, with the Buckeyes taking a low-scoring affair in Columbus, but getting blown out 71-49 at the Kohl Center. The Badgers did a masterful job on Craft in that second regular-season meeting, holding him to just four points and, even more stunning, one assist.

The Big Ten title may well hinge on whether Bo Ryan’s troops can smother the red-hot junior point guard in Chicago tomorrow.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. scoregasmic - Mar 16, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    Nix did that not Appling

  2. jpopejoy - Mar 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Media hype. Osu had control of this game the whole time. They are on a great run and I say that as an IU fan…

  3. ozzie82 - Mar 16, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Craft is a Junior – not a Senior.

  4. dapitt19 - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    nice reporting —
    1) Nix committed the flagrant not Appling
    2) Craft is a junior not a Senior (important because he will be back next year)
    3) I don’t know if Ohio State “slid” into the finals, they earned it. If MSU would have won, I would consider them sliding as they should have lost to Iowa and OSU deserved to win today …

    give credit where credit is due. in the last 2 weeks OSU has beaten MSU twice , Illinois and went into Assembly Hall and beat the “projected National Champion ” Indiana. they are playing some great basketball right now and Deshaun Thomas hasnt been his best yet. — Look Out!

  5. brownsbacker316 - Mar 16, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    I am starting to get a little upset at how little respect the Buckeyes are getting. what is that? 7 straight in the Big 10 now?

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