Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Unranked Michigan State improved its odds of making the cut for March Madness with a 71-67 upset Thursday night over Ohio State, the No. 5 team in the coaches poll.
Junior forward Aaron Henry led the Spartans with 18 points in the victory at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich.
"I did not think we played great, yet we found a way to win," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo told reporters. "It was an absolute war in there."
Ohio State led 38-33 at halftime and used a 9-0 run in the second half to take a 49-40 lead with 13:28 remaining. Michigan State then rallied to tie the score.
The Spartans made an 8-2 run to take a 68-65 lead with 32 seconds left in the game.
Malik Hall earlier gave Michigan State a lead with two free throws at the 2:32 mark and Henry made a jump shot to push the lead to three with 1:10 on the clock.
E.J. Liddell answered with two free throws for the Buckeyes, but Joshua Langford made a jump shot on the next possession to push the Michigan State lead back to three.
Liddell made another pair of free throws with 15 seconds left and the Spartans hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the upset.
"We are never too high and never too low," Henry told reporters. "We've had some low points to the season, but you have to stay even keel. You have to stay hungry and want to get better."
Michigan State outrebounded Ohio State 34-27 in the win, made 75% of their free throws and 50% of their shots in the second half.
Junior forward Gabe Brown chipped in 11 points for the Spartans.
Liddell led the Buckeyes with 18 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Duane Washington Jr. had 17 points.
The Spartans (13-9) next battle Maryland at 2 p.m. EST Sunday at Xfinity Center in College Park, Md., and the Buckeyes (18-6) host No. 3 Iowa at 4 p.m. EST Sunday at Value City Arena.