EAST LANSING, Mich. – Indiana pushed Michigan State for most of Tuesday night.
But the Hoosiers had no answer when Gary Harris pushed back.
The sophomore guard scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half to lead the No. 3 Spartans to a 71-66 win over the Hoosiers in front of 14,797 at the Breslin Center.
They are a very good screening team, so it is hard to guard him off those pin downs and screens off of him, IU guard Yogi Ferrell said.
IU (12-7, 2-4 Big Ten) suffered its second straight loss since upsetting then-No. 3 Wisconsin last week, and Michigan State (18-1, 7-0) won for an 11th straight time.
The Spartans played a fourth straight game without senior forward Adreian Payne, who is sidelined with a sprained right foot and remains day to day, and it was another too-close finish for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.
We didn’t play very well, and Indiana played very hard, Izzo said. We found a way to win. We are going to run out of luck one of these days if we keep playing like this.
Ferrell led IU with 19 points, and Noah Vonleh, who earned his sixth Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor Tuesday afternoon, finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
The Hoosiers were without senior forward Will Sheehey, who injured his left ankle in Saturday’s 54-47 loss to Northwestern.
He wasn’t close to being able to go today, IU coach Tom Crean said of Sheehey. We knew this morning. It will be day by day based on how he responds to the treatment, and hopefully, he will be able to go Sunday (against Illinois).
Jeremy Hollowell returned for IU after not playing in the last three games for undisclosed reasons.
The sophomore, who started 14 of the first 15 games this season, finished with eight points and two rebounds in 15 minutes.
I thought he did a very good job, Crean said. I thought he played like we want him to do in life and on the court is have his priorities and have them in focus.
IU held a 28-27 lead after an opening half that was plagued by turnovers – nine for the Hoosiers and six for the Spartans – and fouls – 12 for the Spartans and nine for the Hoosiers. IU finished with 18 turnovers leading to 15 points for Michigan State, which also scored 22 fast-break points.
Harris opened the second half with a three-point play to grab a 30-28 lead. The Hoosiers responded at first and held a 46-41 lead with 11:54 to play, but Harris started a 21-6 run over the next 7 1/2 minutes with a pair of free throws to give the Spartans a 62-52 lead with 4:29 to play.
He put us on his back during that stretch and made some big plays and big shots, Izzo said. He came off screens ready to shoot. He was good defensively, too.
And in a game with 15 lead changes and 13 ties, IU was able to cut its deficit to three points twice in the final 16 seconds, but Michigan State never gave up the lead.
We are not really going to accept this defeat, Ferrell said. We felt like we played hard down to the wire, but at the end of the day, we didn’t get the win. We are just going to go back to the drawing board.