Indiana Shocks Michigan State With Late Rally, Wins 67-63

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana and Michigan State kept throwing haymakers at each other throughout the second half on Thursday night, and the Hoosiers were left standing at the finish, winning 67-63 in a wild game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Michigan State (14-5, 6-2 in the Big Ten) battled back from an early 14-point deficit and tied the game with 11:52 to go, and then it turned into a Big Ten slugfest from there. Neither team led by more than three points the rest of the way until Indiana's last-second free throws.

Indiana (15-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten) pulled it out by scoring on three of its last four possessions. First, center Joey Brunk scored inside, then junior guard Al Durham hit a 3-pointer to make it 63-60. 

Brunk, who was Indiana's leading scorer with 14 points, came to the rescue again, rebounding a Rob Phinisee miss and scoring as the shot clock went off.

Michigan State's Cassius Winston made 1-of-2 free throws with 43.4 to go and then Indiana turned it over on the other end when an interior pass to Trayce Jackson-Davis was tipped away.

After a Michigan State timeout, Winston drove the lane and missed a shot that was defended well by Indiana freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis. Xavier Tillman missed a wide open tip-in that could have tied it, and Indiana got the rebound with 0.2 seconds left to ice it, with Jerome Hunter hitting the final two free throws. 

"We were in 'blue,' which means we switch everything,'' Jackson-Davis said. "I baited him a little bit, and he drove and was able to stay with him.'

At the beginning, it was all Hoosiers. Indiana was dead-set on getting the ball inside early, and the plan worked as it jumped out to a quick 18-4 lead in the first seven minutes. The Spartans made only 1 of their first 9 shots, and turned the ball over three times.

Indiana was also limiting them to one shot each trip, which was somewhat surprising considering that Michigan State came into the game ranked No. 3 in the country in rebounding margin. Indiana led on the boards the entire game, out rebounding Michigan State 31-29.

After losing their last road game by 29 points at Purdue, the Spartans made a nice run to get back in this game. Led by senior point guard Cassius Winston, who became the Big Ten's all-time assists leader last week, the Spartans got to within 27-24 thanks to a pair of Winston baskets and a pair of consecutive 3-pointers from Indianapolis native Aaron Henry.

Indiana had only four turnovers in the entire first half, three by senior Devonte Green, who was promptly yanked by Indiana coach Archie Miller. The Hoosiers had only eight turnovers for the game, their lowest total of the season.

The Hoosiers' four inside guys—Jackson-Davis, Brunk, De'Ron Davis and Race Thompson — were a combined 9-for-13 from the field in the first half. Thompson had four points and four rebounds in the first half, but injured his lower back on a hard fall and did not return.

"That was his best game as a collegiate player,'' Indiana coach Archie Miller said. "He was excellent, on both sides of the floor.'' 

Michigan State has really struggled with Indiana lately. The Spartans' Final Four team a year lost twice to the Hoosiers, both times as favorites. The same thing happened again Thursday. They were 4-point favorites on Thursday night.

Michigan State was on fire from 3-point range to start the second half, hitting 6-of-9 in the first nine minutes to finally get the lead for the first. They went ahead 51-48 on a Rocket Watts long ball.

Winston, who had 14 turnovers in two previous games, led the Spartans with 17 points and five assists.

Converting free throws was an issue again for Indiana. The Hoosiers, who lead the nation in getting to the line, made only 11 of 20 free throws, and had several critical misses down the stretch.