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Guard puts up 26 in win

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State hadn't seen the old
Chris Hill for more than a month. On Wednesday night, he was almost
perfect from the field.

Not starting for just the third time in two years, Hill went
8-for-10 from the field and scored 26 points to lead the Spartans (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) to an 83-69 comeback victory over Ohio State.

Hill was 6-for-7 from 3-point range and made all four of his
free throws in the top scoring performance this season for the
Spartans (16-4, 7-2 Big Ten).

"It sure was nice to have No. 5 back," Michigan State coach
Tom Izzo said of the fifth-leading 3-point shooter in Big Ten
history. "I can't tell you how good he feels and how good we feel
to have him in a position that he can do something like that."

Hill had shot just 34.8 percent from the field -- and 30 percent
on 3s -- over the previous 10 games, when he scored in double
figures just once. But back in a rhythm Wednesday, he didn't miss
until a 3 rimmed out with 2:52 left.

"The law of averages had to figure in some time," Hill said
with a wide smile. "To be honest, that last 3 felt better than any
shot I took all night. But this was as satisfying a game as any
I've had. I had to come through for the team tonight. That's why it
felt so good."

Maurice Ager, who was bothered with flulike symptoms, scored 18
points on 6-for-7 shooting for the Spartans, while Alan Anderson
added 16 points and Paul Davis had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"It's a team sport, and a lot of guys helped pick us up,"
Davis said after joking Monday that he would have to serve as
Hill's new shooting coach. "But Chris got mad at himself. I think
that's the biggest thing that happened. He kept working his way out
of it. And we all had his back."

Terence Dials was 10-for-18 from the field and had 22 points for
the Buckeyes (16-8, 5-5), who had a four-game winning streak
snapped.

"Michigan State is one of the best teams in the country and
showed that tonight," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "The
blitz they put on at the beginning of the second half was probably
the difference in the game. And Chris Hill put on a clinic
tonight."

The Spartans scored the first six points of the second half to
take a 47-43 lead and gradually stretched their lead by outshooting
Ohio State 52.2 percent-34.5 percent from the field over the last
20 minutes.

The Buckeyes led 43-41 at halftime after shooting 63 percent
from the field, including a 6-for-8 effort from Dials. Hill had 15
points in the first half.

The Spartans finished with a 40-24 rebounding edge and had 21
assists, including seven by Drew Neitzel in his second start in
place of Hill at point guard.

"That was about as proud of a team as I've been in a while
here, as far as how we got the win," Izzo said. "It was a
workmanlike win, a win like those we used to have. And Maurice Ager
deserves a purple heart. He was sicker than a dog this morning. I
didn't know if he was going to play at all, but he battled back."