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Updated: Thursday, January 9, 2003 11:14 PM EST
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(20) Michigan St 66, Ohio St 55
Ohio St. Buckeyes
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Michigan St. Spartans
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EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Big Ten Conference play continues to bring out the best in Michigan State.

Alan Anderson scored a career-high 18 points and freshman Maurice Ager added 15 as the 20th-ranked Spartans used near-perfect foul shooting to defeat Ohio State, 66-55, in the Big Ten opener for both schools.

Michigan State (9-4) has won six straight Big Ten games and 11 of its last 14. The Spartans avoided a third straight loss by converting 29-of-30 foul shots, including their first 26.

"You have to give the assistant coaches credit," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "They brought guys in a little extra. We're a good free-throw shooting team, maybe not always 29-for-30, but a very good free-throw shooting team."

A 3-pointer by Chris Hill triggered a 12-4 run that gave Michigan State a 41-33 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining. Ager scored the final five points of the spurt.

Ohio State (7-5) pulled within 47-43 on two free throws by Shun Jenkins with 8:46 left and had a chance to get closer. But Emonte Jernigan missed a layup and the Spartans ran off eight straight points to seal the victory.

Aloysius Anagonye started the burst with a three-point play and Anderson scored on a follow shot. Ager nailed a 3-pointer with 5:36 to go for a 55-43 advantage.

"We made some adjustments in the second half," Izzo said. "It was a good thing that Maurice Ager came to play - you see where we need another shooter out there."

The Buckeyes were held scoreless for nearly five minutes during that span before a dunk by Zach Williams with 3:52 left stopped the drought.

Anderson was perfect on 14 free-throw attempts and Ager was 5-of-5. Hill, who was held to four points, had the only miss for Michigan State with 71 seconds left.

"I didn't expect to shoot that many," Anderson said. "Coach has been saying to focus on them and that's what I did."

The Spartans limited the Buckeyes to 33 percent (18-of-54) shooting and nine baskets in each half. Leading scorer Brent Darby, a Michigan native, scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half and made only 4-of-17 shots.

Ohio State played without starting guard Sean Connolly, who has a sprained left ankle and has not practiced all week. That forced Jenkins, who scored seven points, into the lineup.

"We put that lineup together this afternoon," Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien said. "We've never practiced with that lineup. We were trying to get Brent Darby as many shots as we could."

Darby also committed six of Ohio State's 15 turnovers. Matt Sylvester was the only Buckeye to foul out, but four teammates finished the game with four fouls.

Ohio State took an 18-13 lead on a basket by Sylvester with 8:46 to go before halftime, its largest advantage of the game. Michigan State scored 12 of the next 17 points and the game was tied at 27-27 at halftime.

Williams was the only other Buckeye in double figures with 10 points. Jenkins grabbed nine rebounds as Ohio State had a 34-29 edge on the glass.

Kelvin Torbert added 12 points for Michigan State, which shot 41.5 percent (17-of-41). Anagonye's six rebounds led the team.

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