EAST LANSING, MI — The Hoosiers went into East Lansing with a seven-game losing streak and as significant underdogs. If there was a time for IU to break out of their slump and turn their season around, it was tonight, and they pulled through magnificently even when facing the persistent injury obstacle. Even though Juwan Morgan suffered a shoulder injury with about 6 minutes left in the first half, sidelining him for the rest of the game, the Hoosiers pulled through 79-75.
The first half was characterized by both teams going back and forth. Even though IU shot worse than MSU from the field, they managed to be only down 31-28. De’Ron Davis and Justin Smith were key players keeping the Hoosiers in the game. Even though Romeo Langford led the team in scoring at the half with 6 points, he shot 2-9 from the field. Although Langford struggled from the field, he still had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and only 1 turnover, while also contributing on defense. Robert Phinisee was not able to make a strong presence as he was in early foul trouble.
For the Spartans, key contributors were Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman. Winston had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and Tillman put up 8 points and 3 rebounds. Furthermore, Kenny Goins had 5 blocks at halftime, in addition to 5 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. However, Nick Ward, a normally dynamic and reliable post presence only had 4 points on 2-7 shooting. One of the key moments of the first half was when there was about 6 minutes left. A loose ball prompted 4 players to dive on the ball, one of which was MSU’s Kyle Ahrens, who landed on Morgan’s shoulder. Unfortunately, Morgan was in significant pain and took some time to walk off the court. He would not return for the remainder of the game, prompting Davis to make an appearance and a strong impact.
The second half was also back and forth. However, Langford stepped up for IU and scored 10 points off of 3-8 shooting and 3-4 at the line. Devonte Green and Al Durham also contributed significantly, each of them scoring 8 points. Both Green and Durham were 3-4 from the field as well. The team also shot 6-9 from 3 point land. The injury woes continued for IU, however, as Durham seemed to have hurt his hand with about 5:30 left but came back in about 3 minutes later. For the Spartans, they pushed the game to OT because of Winston’s 11 points off of 4-9 shooting and Goins’ 7 points off of 2-3 shooting. Goins finished the half with 8 total blocks, providing critical defensive help.
In overtime, Davis scored 5 points and hit the game winning free throws, while Langford hit a clutch three pointer. MSU’s Matt Mcquaid, an important all around player with fantastic range, fouled out with 2:53 left in OT. Even though Winston hit a clutch three pointer and two free throws, he couldn’t lead the Spartans to victory, even though they forced a couple turnovers late when IU had a significant advantage.
(Source: Michigan State Athletics)
Indiana returns back home to Bloomington after another two game road trip. They will face Iowa at Assembly Hall Thursday evening at 9:00 pm EST on ESPN. The currently unranked Iowa Hawkeyes are surely going to be ranked as the AP voting has not reflected their 15 point victory over #5 Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hoosiers play the next 4 of 6 in Bloomington.