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New Year's Eve celebration comes early for Buckeyes

The New Year’s Eve matinee matchup between No. 9 Ohio State and No. 24 Michigan State was exciting from start to finish. The Buckeyes did not disappoint its home crowd, winning 85-80.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus, OH -- The Buckeyes attacked in the first quarter as they led the Spartans by 10 points, partially due to Michigan State's early foul trouble leading to seven Ohio State free-throw points. Jasmine Hines led Ohio State with seven points giving her team the advantage it needed to head into the second quarter with a 22-12 lead.

In the second quarter, the Spartans chipped away at the lead, tying the score at 34. Aerial Powers led Michigan State with 10 points, but Ohio State's Alston Ameryst also led her team with 10 points, giving the Buckeyes the lead going into halftime, 42-36.

The Spartans came out strong in the third quarter. Following several lead changes, Michigan State went on a 9-0 run propelling them ahead of Ohio State, 58-56. Powers led the Spartan's comeback with eight points. Despite continued foul trouble, Michigan State led by two going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was highlighted by physical play. Foul trouble continued to plague the Spartans. Ohio State scored 11 points from the line and was led by Kelsey Mitchell's 15 points.

With 50 collective fouls, four players fouled out of the game. Tori Jankoska, Branndais Agee, Hines (Michigan State) and Alexa Hart (Ohio State) all watched the final minutes from the bench after fouling out. Mitchell was solid at the line for the Buckeyes in the final seconds to seal the 85-80 victory.

The Spartans were led by Powers with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Hines with 18 points and Jankoska and Agee both with 15 points. Ohio State was led by Mitchell and Alston, who had 25 and 23 points respectively. Shayla Copper was the top rebounder for the Buckeyes with 10.

Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said he was proud of the way their kids played.

"We didn't have our best night shooting, but we found a way to win the game," McGuff said. "We made a lot of intangible plays down the stretch that were ultimately the difference."

McGuff said he doesn't think that this team would have won that game in November, but their schedule has hardened them and prepared them to come through in games such as this.