BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana takes down No. 11 Michigan State 67-63 and earns their fifth conference win of the season behind a final-moment block by Indiana freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis and a missed layup from MSU’s Xavier Tillman. The Hoosiers move one step closer to their first NCAA tournament bid in four seasons with another ranked win at home, this time against the Big Ten favorite. Indiana is currently 3-0 against ranked opponents in Bloomington.
The Hoosiers move to 15-4 overall and 5-3 in league play. Michigan State retains their status as the leader of the conference, which is now shared between them and Illinois. They move to 14-5 on the season and 6-2 in the conference.
With a locked and loaded Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers could not have asked for a better start to the game. Archie Miller’s team blasted Michigan State with an early 18-4 run that energized a packed arena. The students, including those that waited hours before tip-off outside in January weather, stayed on their feet from the opening tip. Indiana also gave them a few reasons to remain standing.
Archie Miller’s team returned back to their early-season style of play. Instead of the barrage of three point shots that we witnessed in Indiana’s last game, the Hoosiers instead played the game almost exclusively in the paint.
Indiana scored 14 out of their first 24 points in the paint. The Hoosiers had relatively no problem feeding both Joey Brunk and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Michigan State elected to avoid double teaming, and instead play both Indiana bigs man-on-man. While Tillman is a tough post defender, the Spartans lacked a 2nd big man to consistently stop Indiana’s inside presence. The duo led Indiana’s scoring with 13 combined points in the first segment.
Race Thompson had a notable performance for the Hoosiers in the first half, which earned him extended minutes on the floor. Thompson seemed to be in all of the right places at the right time, impacting the game as soon as he checked in. Whether it be matching up against Michigan State’s frontcourt, out stretching for rebounds, and even a couple of nice offensive moves in transition, Thompson had one of his best stretches in an Indiana jersey.
In a scary moment for Indiana with 47 seconds remaining in the first half, Thompson received the blunt of a Xavier Tillman challenge underneath the basket. Thompson fell hard to the ground and required the assistance of Indiana’s training staff and Archie Miller in order to get back up on his feet. He went briefly to the locker room and returned back to the bench in the second half. However, he did not play after the incident. Tillman picked up a personal foul on the play.
After Indiana’s start, Michigan State’s Aaron Henry would not let Michigan State go away without a fight. Entering today’s game, the sophomore from Indianapolis was 5-for-21 from distance in Big Ten play. He hit critical back-to-back threes around the six-minute mark cut the Indiana lead to just five points. The pair of shots came at an important turning point for the game. It broke the seal on Michigan State’s muffled offense.
Cassius Winston added another jumper to bring the score to 27-24. The senior Spartan played under control, but he was unable to explode, largely due to Rob Phinisee who once again locked down Winston for the majority of the game.
Three-point shooting would be an important part of the game, as it was a weapon that continued to help Michigan State stay in the game. In fact, Indiana wasn’t able to make a three-point attempt until Al Durham converted a clutch shot from distance with time expiring.
Michigan State kept finding success from behind the arc in the second half. In fact, it was the only area that they found success.
Indiana played one of their best games in the paint all evening long. If Michigan State wanted to attack the rim, they had to go through a series of taller and lengthy Hoosiers with arms way up. Michigan State missed their first five two-point attempts in the second half.
Behind the arc, that was a completely different story. Michigan State was five-of-five for their first 15 points in the second half. They hit their final three triples to end the first half, which means they ran up a streak of eight in a row.
Gabe Brown made two from the same spot, and a woken up Winston hit the next three in a row. Brown and Winston were the primary source of scoring for Michigan State. They scored 18 of Michigan State’s first 24 points in the second half.
Michigan State gained their first lead of the evening with 11 minutes remain in the second half behind the Spartans’ sixth three point shot of the second half. This time, it was freshman Rocket Watts Jr.
In a tight game until the very end, the Hoosiers continued to trade layups and free throws for Michigan State three point shots. With the scored knotted at 60 points each, Durham hit one of the most important shots of the 2019-2020 season with a three point basket that gave Indiana a three-point edge and forced a Michigan State timeout.
In the end, the deafening environment of Simon Skojdt Assembly Hall and Indiana’s composure down the stretch gave the Hoosiers a lead that Michigan State could not overcome. Indiana moves to 15-4 on the season and earn their fifth Big Ten win and 3rd “Quad 1” win of the season.
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Number of the Night: 12.5% turnover percentage
One concern each time the Hoosiers take the floor in Big Ten play revolves around the number of turnovers IU coughs up. On Thursday night, IU turned it over on just 12.5% of their possessions. The eight total turnovers represent a single-game season-low.
MSU’s defense came into the contest struggling the department of forcing takeaways, as they ranked last in the conference in that category (per KenPom). For at least one night, Archie Miller’s crew held onto the ball and enjoyed the results.
Source: Indiana Athletics
Next Up: No. 17 Maryland
The Hoosiers get another resume-building opportunity as they take on the No. 17 Terrapins in the return game in Bloomington. Indiana lost to Maryland in a lopsided game earlier this month. Maryland (15-4, 5-3 B1G) will have had two additional days of preparation as their last game was on Tuesday, where they defeated the Northwestern Wildcats.
You can find Indiana’s game against Maryland on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The broadcast will be available on CBS.
The full schedule can be found on the Indiana Basketball schedule page.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ