The Indiana Hoosiers (12-13, 7-11 B1G) traveled to East Lansing to face off in a must-win game against the Tom Izzo-led Michigan State Spartans (14-10, 8-10 B1G). This game, for both teams, had huge tournament implications as both teams find themselves on the bubble.
With Armaan Franklin still out with a lingering foot injury, head coach Archie Miller rolled with the same starting five that began their last game against No. 2 Michigan. Trayce Jackson–Davis, Race Thompson, Jerome Hunter, Rob Phinisee, and Al Durham began the game for the Hoosiers.
Down two to start the game, TJD got IU on the board with a free throw that started a 7-0 run that lasted nearly three minutes. The first field goal of the game, for either team, did not come until a Jackson-Davis layup with 15:18 remaining.
At the first media timeout, IU led 5-4.
Race Thompson got things going on the defensive side of the ball with a monster block on Michigan State star Aaron Henry.
Junior guard Rob Phinisee came to play in the first half. Phinisee was aggressive pushing the ball, attempting poster dunks, rebounding like a big man, and creating turnovers.
The West Lafayette native showed that he just may be coming on at the right time for the Hoosiers, as long as it isn’t too late.
Offense was at a premium in the first half of the game as Indiana shot just 28% (8-29) from the field while Michigan State shot 36% (8-22). Neither team shot better than 13% from long distance, and either team was higher than 75% from the charity stripe at halftime.
With just over two minutes remaining in the first half, Race Thompson was inadvertently hit in the face by MSU guard Rocket Watts. Thompson went down holding his bloody nose that was already injured and went into the locker room early.
IU was led by Rob Phinisee at half with nine points as the game was tied at intermission.
The second half started and the poor shooting performances along with the ample number of foul calls continued as there were eight fouled called within the first 3 minutes.
With 17:12 remaining IU trailed 31-29.
After leaving the game early with an injury, Race Thompson filled a void that was left by TJD, who had three fouls, on both offense and defense. Getting transition and-one dunk and yet another monster block.
As motioned, IU star Jackson-Davis picked up his third foul with just under 18 minutes remaining in the game, forcing him to take a lengthy break on the bench.
During that stretch IU went on a 6-1 run that gave them a 35-32 lead.
With 11:35 left in the game, there were six total players with three fouls and six players with two personal fouls. Up to this point in the game there had been 33 fouls between the Hoosiers and the Spartans in just 29 minutes of game play. The teams combined for 45 on the night.
MSU guard Gabe Brown knocked a pair of baskets, one being a three, to give MSU a three-point lead with 10:08 remaining.
The freshman for Indiana went back-to-back buckets, one for Khristian Lander and one from Jordan Geronimo, to give bring IU to within one-point with just 6:15 left in the game.
The final seven minutes of the game consisted of a lot of back-and-forth with multiple lead changes and ties. There were seven ties and 10 lead changes in the contest.
It was Aaron Henry for MSU who scored buckets on multiple possessions in a row and it was Al Durham and Jackson-Davis who kept it up for the Hoosiers.
Aaron Henry would get the last laugh as he hit a three to stretch MSU’s lead to the largest of the game at four and then immediately after got a steal on the defensive end with just 1:40 remaining.
You thought that was it? No way. Henry scored again to give him 12 straight points to close out the Hoosiers. MSU ended the game on a 11-6 run to pull away in the final two minutes as IU fell short, 64-58
IU was led by Rob Phinisee while MSU was led by Aaron Henry with 22.
Up next for the Hoosiers is their last game of the regular season as they travel to West Lafayette to face off against No. 23 Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, March 6th at 2:00 EST, on ESPN or ESPN2. This will be Indiana’s last chance to pick up a win before the Big Ten Tournament.