EAST LANSING, Mich. – Indiana coach Tom Crean got nearly everything he wanted out of his team Tuesday night, even though the Hoosiers fell 71-66 to No. 3 Michigan State at the Breslin Center.
Coming off a poor performance in a 54-47 home loss to Northwestern on Sunday, Crean said his team responded well in a tough environment.
"I'm 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 toughness and it showed tonight," Crean said. "We did some really good things."
IU forward Noah Vonleh, who was named the Big Ten freshman of the week for the sixth time this season Tuesday afternoon, got things off on the right foot knocking down a 3-pointer in the first 42 seconds and then sinking a jumper in the paint for a 5-0 lead just more than 2 minutes into the game.
Vonleh finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for his second straight double-double and eighth of the season.
"He was a horse tonight, and we didn't guard him very well," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of Vonleh. "Since now I can be a fan of my former assistant (Crean), I hope they pound it into him."
IU guard Yogi Ferrell bounced back from a 2-for-14 shooting performance against Northwestern with 19 points. While Ferrell still only shot 4 of 13 against Michigan State, Crean liked what he saw from his sophomore leader.
"He absolutely let the game come to him tonight," Crean said. "He played a complete game. I would never look at his shooting percentage and let that be indicative of the way he played. He played numerous minutes."
IU and Michigan State were without a player Tuesday night.
The Hoosiers didn't have senior forward Will Sheehey, who injured his left ankle against Northwestern.
"We weren't going to press it," Crean said of Sheehey, who went back in against the Wildcats after initially injuring his ankle.
"He wasn't close to being able to go today, and he didn't go yesterday. I think he was highly disappointed, but I thought he handled it really well on the bench. It wasn't like it was a game-time decision, we knew this morning. It will be truly day by day based on how he responds to the treatment. Hopefully, he will be ready to go Sunday (against Illinois)."
Michigan State didn't have senior forward Adreian Payne for the fourth straight game because of a sprained right foot. And there is no indication that Payne will be returning soon.
"Payne is a day-to-day deal," Izzo said. "He's run twice. I don't know. I don't think he is playing right now, but he wants to play. I have the toughest coaching decision in my life to make as far as that goes. It is going to be with me and him."
Jeremy Hollowell's banishment to the bench came to end against Michigan State when the IU sophomore checked in 7 minutes into the game.
Hollowell, who started 14 of the first 15 games, had not played for the last three games for an undisclosed reason.
Crean said he liked what he saw from Hollowell, who finished with eight points and two rebounds in 15 minutes.
"I thought he did a very good job. I thought he attacked. I thought he played like we want him to do in life and on the court, which is have his priorities and have them in focus. I think exactly what he did this past week when he was sitting out, he brought to the game. He played basketball. He moved the ball. He attacked. He finished. That's what we need. We just need him to play."
- Keith Etherington made his first start for IU, taking the place of Sheehey. The sophomore scored three points and had three rebounds in 19 minutes.
- Stanford Robinson also made his first start for IU. The freshman had nine points and three rebounds in 27 minutes.
- Michigan State's Gary Harris scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half.
- The Spartans also got double-digit scoring performances from Branden Dawson (13), Denzel Valentine (10) and Travis Trice (10).
- IU had 18 turnovers, which led to 15 points for Michigan State.