Aaron Henry had 18 points to help Michigan State improve its chances of making the NCAA Tournament with a 71-67 win over No. 4 Ohio State on Thursday night, two days after coach Tom Izzo’s team beat No. 5 Illinois by nine points.

The Spartans (13-9, 7-9 Big Ten) rallied from a nine-point, second-half deficit with Gabe Brown finishing with 11 points and Josh Langford making key plays at both ends of the court. The Buckeyes (18-6, 12-6)  E.J. Liddell had 18 points on 4 of 13 shooting and Duane Washington scored 17 on 7 of 16 shooting. C.J. Walker scored 12 points and Justice Sueing added 10 for the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes went ahead 49-40 midway through the second half, but Henry and Langford would not let them pull away as Michigan State outscored them 15-6 to pull into a 55-all tie with 6:42 left.

Malik Hall made free throws to put the Spartans ahead 64-63 with 2:23 to go. Henry followed with a jumper to give them a three-point lead with 1:08 remaining. Both teams took turns making free throws until Michigan State’s Joey Hauser missed the first of two free throws, giving the Buckeyes the ball with 12.8 seconds left and a chance to tie or win the game in regulation. Washington came up short, defended by Langford, on a layup with about five seconds left to trigger Holtmann’s second technical.