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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 03, 2018 9:20 pm

Halftime: Michigan State 32, Indiana 24

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Since the Ohio State game, Archie Miller has been preaching the importance of coming out with more energy early in the game. The Hoosiers executed that game plan perfectly, giving maximum effort on the defensive end in the first few minutes. Rebounding also improved dramatically. Against one of the best rebounding teams in the country, Indiana pulled down seven offensive boards in the first four minutes of the game. 

It was exactly the start Indiana needed. Then the shots started missing. Then they kept missing.

At one juncture, the Hoosiers misfired on 12 shots in a row and went without a field goal for more than nine minutes. Michigan State was stifling inside, blocking nine shots in the half. Eventually, the Spartans began to assert themselves on offense and they opened a lead. Matt McQuaid hit his first three triples and led Michigan State with nine points in the half.

At halftime, the Spartans are in front 32-24, while Indiana is shooting 18 percent.

The two players struggling the most with their shot are the Hoosiers' best, Juwan Morgan and Robert Johnson. The pair missed their first 12 shots combined, not scoring until Morgan sliced through the lane for a layup at the 7:19 mark of the half. It's a testament to Indiana's effort on defense and rebounding that its only down eight, with its two best players being bottled up. 

Freddie McSwain Jr., getting his first start of the season, picked up some of the slack and rewarded Archie Miller's faith in him. The forward was active on the glass all half, battling Miles Bridges and Nick Ward and pulling down six rebounds. He also scored four points and blocked a shot, playing with the energy Miller was clearly envisioning when he decided to start him over freshman Justin Smith.

Despite the anemic shooting, the Hoosiers are in this game. If Morgan or Johnson can get hot in the second half, an upset is there for the taking. We'll soon find out if Indiana is rested enough to give its best effort for a full 40 minutes.