Spartans second-half run dooms Hoosiers in 71-66 loss

  • 01/22/2014 9:48 am in

On Tuesday night in East Lansing, with less than 11 minutes remaining against Michigan State, Indiana had a five-point lead against the No. 3 team in the nation. It was a far cry from only three days earlier, in which the Hoosiers were stunned at home by a then 8-10 Northwestern squad.

Instead, the Hoosiers were ahead of the No. 3 Spartans and were getting to the free throw line, attacking the basket and challenging the Spartans on defense. But like many great teams, the Spartans made a run. And the Hoosiers had no answer.

Propelled by a 21-6 run from the 10:37 to the 3:00 mark of the second half, Michigan State (18-1, 7-0) held off Indiana (12-7, 2-4) in a 71-66 win at the Breslin Center.

“I’m real proud of my team, to be honest with you, because I think we really did a great job the last couple of days of establishing even more togetherness,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “And it showed tonight. We did some really good things.”

Before Michigan State went on that game-winning run, though, Indiana had battled its way to a 46-41 lead in perhaps the toughest road environment it had played in, to date. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said the Hoosiers looked like the team that beat Wisconsin only a week earlier — not the team that lost to Northwestern on Saturday. Indiana attacked the basket and Michigan State couldn’t stop it.

But then, at the 10:37 mark, just after a Noah Vonleh turnover — one of 18 on the night for the Hoosiers — senior Evan Gordon fouled Spartans sophomore Gary Harris. He made both free throws. On the next possession, after Indiana freshman Troy Williams missed a layup, he would drill a 3-pointer to tie the game at 46. Indiana’s lead was gone.

“(Harris) put us on his back during that stretch,” Izzo said. “He made some big plays and big shots and came off screens ready to shoot.”

Suddenly, the Spartans were alive.

Over the next seven minutes of play, they built their lead. Denzel Valentine scored five points. Branden Dawson added another five. Gary Harris made another 3-pointer, three of his 24 points on the night on 8-of-13 shooting.

All the while, though, Indiana struggled offensively. In that same stretch, the Hoosiers missed six layups — they missed 11 in the second half, overall — and recorded four turnovers. It gave the Spartans the perfect ingredients for a run.

“Really the crux of the game, we missed some of the same shots we were making earlier in the game,” Crean said.

“They made some baskets and we missed some close shots at the rim. We found great shots, we’d like to have back a couple, but for the most part we just didn’t make shots that we were making around the rim. Not necessarily layups, but just stuff that was right there where we want it. But we’ve got to finish.”

Still, late in Tuesday’s game, the Hoosiers made one more run, avoiding another 17-point defeat at the hands of the Spartans.

In the final 3:00, Indiana actually outscored the Spartans, 14-9, and even cut the deficit to three points with 16 seconds left after freshman Stanford Robinson — who made his first career start — drove to the basket and knocked down a layup.

Michigan State, however, would make the free throws they needed down the stretch, sealing their five-point victory over the Hoosiers.

“We’re not really going to accept this defeat,” sophomore Yogi Ferrell said. “We know we felt like we played hard, kind of down to the wire. We’re proud of the way we played, but at the end of the day we didn’t get the win.

“We’re just going to go back to the drawing board and try to use what we did here, playing especially in the tough crowd that it is against one of the best teams in the country, and try and carry that throughout the rest of the season.”

Sheehey benched with ankle injury

Well before Indiana took the court on Tuesday night against Michigan State, Crean knew senior Will Sheehey wouldn’t be playing against the No. 3 Spartans.

After sustaining an ankle injury against Northwestern on Saturday, Sheehey had missed Monday’s practice despite playing late in the game against the Wildcats. Crean said that by the time of Tuesday’s shootaround, he knew Sheehey would not be able to play against the Spartans.

“We weren’t going to press him,” Crean said. “He wasn’t close to being able to go today.”

And Crean is not even sure when Sheehey will return. He said it is a “day-to-day” process right now, based on how he responds to treatment.

Sheehey started all 18 games this season before sitting on Tuesday and is averaging 10.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.7 minutes per game.

“We hope he’s ready to go Sunday,” Crean said. “But I don’t have any idea right now.”

Hollowell sees first game action since Jan. 4

Coming off the bench on Tuesday night, sophomore Jeremy Hollowell played his first minutes since Jan. 4 after Crean sat the former starter due to a “lack of focus.”

Hollowell was subbed in within the first 10 minutes of the game and played a total 15 minutes against the Spartans, scoring eight points and grabbing two rebounds on the night.

“He moved the ball, he attacked, he finished, that’s what we need,” Crean said. “We don’t just need him to be playing.”

Over the past four games, Crean and Indiana’s coaching staff have dodged questions on why Hollowell hasn’t played, saying, “he’ll play when we put him in,” and that the issue was simply due to a lack of focus.

He went through warm-ups and participated in practices, but did not play against Penn State, Wisconsin or Northwestern. Well, even Hollowell was unaware he would be playing until Crean told him to come off the bench in the first half on Tuesday.

“He didn’t know when he was going in,” Crean said. “I know he wanted to go in, I don’t think he knew he was going to go in, but I thought he did a good job.”

(Photo credit: Matthew Mitchell,

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  • chiswede

    Good game for us, but it turns out that one of the drawbacks of having really athletic guys that killed everyone in high school is that they never had to develop an outside shot.

  • SCHoosier

    A “second half run” by the Sparties was pretty much guaranteed with Harris back in the line-up after being held out (not in check) the first half with two fouls. Hoosiers helped with the TO’s and not being able to get the ball to NV where he had a chance to score. Here’s the first 90 secs of IU’s second half: Troy tries to dribble and (again) gets stripped..AE makes a great save on that..then throws away a pass to Appling..who gets needlessly fouled by Yogi on the break away. Next MSU possession Stan goes under rather than over a screen for Harris who knocks down the three. 4 straight plays w/ 4 poor IU decisions.Momentum goes the other way..IU did fight back..but poor shooting and TO’s seal the deal. Hoosiers are playing hard..but playing smart too often evades them.. Boy its tough not having shooters.

  • Kyl470

    It’s sad because If the team played like this against Northwestern they would have won and this loss wouldn’t have been so bad. At this point I think everyone can agree that the NCAA tournament isn’t going to happen this year. My bigger worry is that Vonleh will be pro and next year instead of talking about lack of shooting we will be talking about lack of interior play since HMP will be the only big man. (I don’t expect Jurkin to ever contribute)

  • CreamandCrimson

    “Boy its tough not having shooters”…amen. The 3-pointer is such a huge weapon and we are largely devoid of it right now. I am really, really looking forward to having Blackmon Jr., Johnson, Hoetzel (although probably not next year) plus more development in that department from returning guys to bring that back into our arsenal.

  • chiswede

    Except that whenever he gets the ball, the other team isn’t afraid to collapse 3-4 guys on him since they have no respect for the outside shot.

  • chiswede

    ITH conspiracy theories, that’s a new one.

  • It’s a conspiracy theory. Has to be. Wikipedia will soon add it to this page:

  • pcantidote

    Really tired of the next year talk. Sure we will have some unproven freshmen that can supposedly shoot. We WON’T have anyone in the post if Vonleh is gone, Sheehey, and maybe not even Yogi. Next year is at a best a BIG unknown.

  • pcantidote

    I just want to get through one game where he doesn’t put his head down and try to dribble through two defenders.

  • Disco_Briscoe

    11 players (except Marlin who came in later) saw the floor in the first 12 minutes of the game and in those 12 minutes and throughout the game the player combos on the floor made no sense.

    Howard being in the game did not help at all. I’m all for rewarding someone who works hard but there is a time and place. The offense which was struggling played with 4 guys when he was on the floor with his man doubling the ball (Vonleh).

  • CreamandCrimson

    Fair enough…I’ve seen Blackmon Jr. play in person multiple times and I’m a huge fan of his game so I’m looking forward to seeing him at IU. I choose to be excited about it but I understand if you go the other way.

    Why might we not have Yogi?

  • pcantidote

    I hope you are right about JB Jr. It is hard to imagine him being a bust. Yogi clearly has NBA level talent. I doubt he would go after this year, but you never know. I would put money down that he doesn’t play 4 years.

  • calbert40

    In theory, yes, Noah should get more than 8 shots, but since he is the best player on our team, the other team does try to keep him from catching the ball in good position. It isn’t like we just dribble down and loft a pass to him on the block every time down. Actually, we did a far better job getting him involved last night than we did against MSU in Bloomington. They try to take him away from us.

  • calbert40

    I’ve seen Blackmon in person too, and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t start Game 1 next year. He is a lot bigger than I thought he’d be. He needs about a millimeter of opening to get his shot off. He is more athletic than I thought too. Give him a summer with the team and Cook Hall, and I think CTC will have a lot of difficulty keeping him off the floor.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I thought that’s what you were referring to but wasn’t sure. It would be a gigantic mistake for Yogi to enter the draft (in my opinion, he might have circumstances I am unaware of). As of now, he’s not in the top 100 of any NBA Draft boards I’ve seen (and he’s not particularly close in them either). I could be wrong but I’d be immensely surprised if he’s not at IU next season. We’ll see though.

  • calbert40

    Gary Harris is quickly working his way into the starting lineup of my fictional “most hated players in B1G history” team. The guy kills us! Players like Cardinal, Jim Jackson, Roy Marble (dad), Doug Lee, Chris Jent, etc.

    Basically, it is a list of players that I couldn’t stand simply because they played for a different team. Harris is a reserve currently, but if he keeps his play up against us, I’ll have difficulty keeping him out of the lineup.

  • mk

    Couldn’t agree more, that is his biggest issue. When he makes the right play it is usually a good result.

  • STLHoosier

    Not going to happen. He does it every time he’s ever played. Not a coincidence that our turnover problem reared it’s ugly head again and Hollowell got playing time. Love the team effort last night, but a player like Jeff Howard cannot be on the floor going down the stretch. We lost crucial defensive rebounds because Howard (although he was blocking out) cannot out leap the likes of Dawson. Perea should be in the game, with Vonleh coming down the stretch against talented bigs, in order to get defensive rebounds. Second shots killed us last night at the worst possible times. Vonleh wasn’t in foul trouble and there is no reason that Crean shouldn’t play him and Perea together. It’s not like we lose any offensive prowess by having Perea in the game instead of Howard. But … we gain athleticism and rebounding. Why doesn’t Crean see this? I am left shaking my head at some of his decisions.

  • Hoosier1388

    Not true, Howard was a defensive technician for majority of the game. He was supreme with his switches and doubles and really made things happen on the defensive side of the ball… He didn’t have any airhead moments and in the B1G on the road that’s what you need… He played phenomenally IMO… Re-watch the game… The last and one was painful though

  • 5_Banners

    It was really frustrating that the game wasn’t called that tightly at IU. IU would have won easily if that was case. The officials from game to game are frustrating.

  • 5_Banners

    On the timeout, I thought Crean called one but i could be wrong. I specifically remember pointing out that rebound situation regarding Howard. That was part of the game where Dawson’s energy provided a spark for Mich. St. Howard was just standing there while Dawson jumped from tipping the ball back to him. I wasn’t happy.

  • 5_Banners

    It’s amazing how no one points out that there is another team on the other side of the court. Sometimes they do a good job of taking that player away for awhile and sometimes its because of IU not looking for him for stretches. You can have both.

  • pcantidote

    Not saying I agree with it, but it is probably because HMP averages twice the turnovers per minute as Howard.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Lol! People will spin up anything nowadays.

  • anybody wanna ask why Vonleh didnt attempt a shot until the 4 minute mark in the second half?

  • He does affect shots and can play in transition. Howard misses point blank layups, so I’d give the nod to HMP.

  • There was an unwritten rule about playing Fischer and Vonleh as well.

  • Snookafly

    The combo of killing us on the court and spurning us as a native Hoosier really boosts his stock.

  • INUnivHoosier

    Oh! I was wondering who the 5 guys in the white jerseys were.

    Also, on another note, Howard was a beast on the switch last night.

  • SCHoosier

    With his shooting the last 3 have to be kiddin’ right?

  • Hoosier1388

    Thank You!!!

  • Kyl470

    Yeah all the touch fouls that were called in non conference play are being let go.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Ferrell’s propensity to jump in the air searching for someone open is annoying and leads to a turnover more often than a basket. CTC needs to play someone who will put the rock in Vonleh’s hands more frequently…like maybe a touch EVERY time we get in the half-court. Perhaps if JH watched a little film on Aaron White, Branden Dawson, or Sam Dekker, he just might see HOW to dribble WITHOUT turning it over…perhaps more time on the bench would help him learn. One last comment regarding the lack of “outside shooters”: If CH was recruited because of his skills as a shooter, why does he sit on the bench? Tough to score when you “ain’t in the lineup”. I don’t attend practices, but if the staff doesn’t feel he can AND will progress, give his ticket to someone else and move on to the next roster need..