The script was set perfectly for Kyle Taber’s final game in Assembly Hall.
Family and friends ascended upon Bloomington to say farewell to the senior captain. Chants of ‘Ky-le Ta-ber’ were heard throughout Assembly Hall. And in a game in which IU was a heavy underdog, the Hoosiers had a chance to knock off a legitimate top ten opponent.
But alas, as has been the case throughout most of this season of transition for Indiana basketball, the Hoosiers couldn’t come up with a big play down the stretch. The final result: A hard fought 64-59 loss to Michigan State.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t come out right,” Taber said. “We battled and it was a great game. It was fun to be apart of something like that.”
Despite going 8:43 without a field goal in the second half, the Spartans (24-5, 14-3 Big Ten) clinched the Big Ten title outright for the first time since 1999.
Kalin Lucas scored 15 points to lead Michigan State and Raymar Morgan added 14 points, including a thunderous put back dunk with 27 seconds remaining to give MSU a four-point cushion.
The Hoosiers (6-23, 1-16) cut the lead to two on a pair of Nick Williams free throws with just under 16 seconds remaining, but Lucas answered with a pair of free throws to wrap up the victory.
“It was a great game. Our guys were in it the entire way, to the very end,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
Indiana missed eight free throws and several opportunities to tie the game after cutting Michigan State’s lead to two with 3:31 remaining.
Verdell Jones led four Hoosier scorers in double figures with 15 points. Malik Story and Williams added 11 each and Matt Roth had 10.
Taber finished with three points, five rebounds and two assists in his final home game.
“We went down with a fight,” IU’s lone senior added. “I’m proud of what my teammates were able to do for me.”
Up next: Indiana concludes the regular season with a 7PM ET matchup on Sunday at Wisconsin. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Bawa sighting: 7-0 signee Bawa Muniru was in attendance and Jared Poertner of the H-T/Hoosier Scoop talked to the big man.
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