By JOHN BAUERNFEIND | IDS
The IU men’s basketball team (12-7, 2-4) will be kicking itself after Tuesday’s 71-66 loss to the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans.
The Hoosiers led by one at halftime, and after weathering an early second half run by the Spartans, held a five-point lead with 10 minutes and 37 seconds remaining in the game.
After Michigan State senior guard Travis Trice hit a jump shot to give the Spartans a 41-40 lead with 13 minutes and 45 seconds left in the second half, the Hoosiers went on a 6-0 run.
The scoring was capped off by a layup from freshman forward Troy Williams, which prompted Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo to call a timeout.
A foul on graduate student guard Evan Gordon sent the game into its second media timeout of the half, but it was clear that Indiana had taken control of the game.
With senior wing Will Sheehey not playing after injuring his ankle against Northwestern, other Hoosiers stepped up in his place.
After the game, IU Coach Tom Crean said he was proud of how his team performed under the circumstances.
“I’m proud of my team because I think we did a great job the last couple days of establishing even more togetherness,” Crean said, according to an Associated Press report. “I’m proud of the way we played without Will. Everybody that went into the game impacted the game.”
Sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell, seeing his first minutes since Jan. 4, played 15 minutes and scored eight points on 2-of-3 shooting.
Hollowell’s return-to-game action was punctuated by a breakaway dunk off a steal and outlook pass from freshman guard Stanford Robinson.
Williams, who had scored 14 points total in his previous four games, had nine points on 3-for-7 shooting from the field.
Williams entered Tuesday’s game averaging nearly two turnovers per game and did not turn the ball over once. He managed to grab six rebounds to go along with two assists.
Robinson and sophomore forward Austin Etherington started in their first collegiate games of their careers.
Etherington hit an early 3-pointer, but fouled out with a game-high four turnovers.
Robinson played a season-high 27 minutes, totaling nine points on 4-for-10 shooting.
The freshman from Maryland connected on a layup with 10 minutes and 10 seconds left in the game.
It would take the Hoosiers more than seven minutes to make another field goal.
Coming out of the under 12-minute media timeout, however, the Spartans would score 11 points in one minute and 21 seconds.
Michigan State sophomore guard Gary Harris scored five points in a frame of 19 seconds during this stretch, and Harris would eventually go on to score 20 second half points.
Despite Harris’s efforts, what arguably doomed the Hoosiers were its self-inflicted mistakes.
The Hoosiers turned the ball over nine times against both Wisconsin and Northwestern last week.
On Tuesday, they turned the ball over 18 times.
To go along with this, ESPN reported the Hoosiers missed nine layups during the second half.
The Hoosiers were led in scoring by sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, who ended up with 19 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
Freshman forward Noah Vonleh had another stellar game, recording his second consecutive double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Hoosiers and Spartans both had 30 points in the paint, and were nearly even in points off turnovers.
The Spartans scored 15 points off 18 Indiana turnovers, and the Hoosiers scored 14 points off 14 Michigan State turnovers.
Where the Spartans held a decisive edge were fast break points, outscoring the Hoosiers 22-8 in that regard.
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said after the game he thought the Hoosiers played harder than his team.
“Indiana, I thought, outplayed us — and we found a way to win,” Izzo said, according to an Associated Press report. “Those young guys played well, played hard.”