(COLUMBUS, Ohio) - Michigan State has won or shared the last four Big Ten titles. Apparently, the Spartans are not quite ready to loosen their grip on the championship trophy.
Marcus Taylor scored a career-high 32 points and Michigan State rallied to beat No. 18 Ohio State 81-76 Tuesday night, creating a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten.
``I might have mentioned it once over the past couple of days,'' Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. ``We're not going to give up our championship. Somebody's going to have to take it.''
With No. 15 Illinois beating No. 25 Indiana 70-62 on Tuesday night, Ohio State, Indiana, Wisconsin and the Illini are all 10-5 in the conference with one game remaining.
Michigan State (18-10, 9-6), which hit 63 percent of its shots in the second half against the Buckeyes (19-7), is one game back.
Wisconsin closes the regular season Wednesday night at home against Michigan. On Saturday, Ohio State is at Michigan, Indiana plays host to Northwestern. Illinois travels to Minnesota on Sunday. Michigan State plays Iowa at home Saturday.
The victory was the fourth straight for the Spartans, who won for the first time in three trips to Value City Arena.
Taylor's previous career-high was 21 points earlier this season in a loss to Stanford.
``It kind of reminded me of my high school days,'' he said. ``After I hit my first two shots, I just started getting a lot more confidence.''
Taylor was 10-of-15 from the field _ including making all three of his 3-point attempts _ and was 9-of-12 at the line. He also had three assists.
``We had no answer for Taylor tonight,'' Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. ``He proved tonight why people think he's an All-American candidate.''
Adam Ballinger added 12 points for the Spartans, who shot 59 percent for the game.
Brian Brown scored 24 points, Boban Savovic had 17 and reserve Sean Connolly added 11 for Ohio State, which had won its first seven conference home games.
Brent Darby, the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer, missed more than 12 minutes of the second half after he told the coaches he was sick.
Down by five points at halftime, Michigan State regained the lead on Taylor's 3-pointer with 15:38 left.
Neither team was able to pull away as they traded baskets for the next 13 minutes.
There were six ties and six lead changes until the Spartans worked the ball around the perimeter and found Chris Hill for an open 3-pointer with 2:44 left to take a 68-65 lead.
After Savovic missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Taylor made two free throws with 1:42 left for a five-point lead.
Ohio State never got closer than four points again as the Spartans scored their final 13 points at the line, going 6-of-8 over the final 25 seconds.
``It was right there in our hands and we gave it away,'' Brown said.
Savovic scored 12 straight points for the Buckeyes to keep them in the game until a late 9-2 run gave Ohio State a 36-31 halftime lead.
After Darby went coast to coast for a layup in the final seconds of the half, Izzo angrily confronted official Ted Hillary. Ohio State was called for only four fouls in the opening 20 minutes and Torbert had the ball taken away on the Spartans' last possession when he was sandwiched between two defenders.
The Spartans were just 2-of-3 at the free throw line in the first half, but were 21-of-28 in the second as Ohio State was called for 19 fouls.