Ozment’s buzzer-beating three helps MSU avoid upset

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EAST LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – What could have been one of Michigan State’s worst losses of the year, actually ended up being one of its most exciting wins of the season.

In a game that went down to the wire, with Purdue, the Spartans needed somebody to come through and that somebody was Tory Ozment. The 6-foot-1 junior forward knocked down a three at the buzzer, to lift MSU to a 76-73 win, for a ‘Sunday Funday’ feeling at the Breslin Center.

“It felt really good coming off,” Ozment said with a laugh. “I could just hear Suzy in the background, ‘Tory, pop, pop, pop!.’ I saw the defender. They were going to go towards Nia, who wouldn’t? So I saw them keep towards Nia so I got enough space and it felt great coming off.”

“It was right in front of me, so it looked really good,” said Suzy Merchant. “It was right on line. I think Tory is a kid that sometimes, when she has an opportunity, she would rather give it up to somebody else which is a good quality to have, but with 1.2 seconds left on that kick you don’t really have a choice. So, I think, for her to be able to have the courage to take that shot, because she can make it.”

There have been four games this year where the Spartans have drawn the short end of the stick in games like this. The most recent one was on Tuesday against No. 11 Michigan. The Spartans had the opportunity to win it down the stretch, but the Wolverines prevailed 86-82.

“It’s good to be in a close game and be on the other side of that for once,” said Merchant. “I think five of our six losses have actually been a possession, or two, so to actually be on the other side of that was glorious. It feels a lot better than the other side.”

The win truly was the definition of a team win. Lansing Waverly alum Alisia Smith paved the way with 18 points, while Alyza Winston added 16 points, to go along with Ozment’s 7 points. They were much needed contributions considering the Boilermakers held MSU’s leading scorer, Nia Clouden, to 6 points.

“It was amazing to see my team come together, and fight, to be able to pull out the win,” said Smith.

With the win MSU not only moves back up to .500 in the Big Ten (7-6) but improves to 12-6 overall, while Purdue falls to (6-13, 3-12 Big Ten). It’s the Boilermakers seventh-straight loss.

“Would this have been a horrible loss?,” said Merchant. “It wouldn’t have been good one.”

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