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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, February 04, 2018 1:00 am

Michigan State 63 Indiana 60

Cold-shooting IU hangs tough, but skid hits 4

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana has proven this season it can play with the best teams in the country. It hasn't proven yet it can beat those teams, though.

Three times the Hoosiers have welcomed a Top 5 team to Assembly Hall and all three times they have stayed close, but ultimately fallen short.

The pattern played out again Saturday as the Hoosiers hung with No. 5 Michigan State but eventually lost 63-60.

It was Indiana's fourth straight loss. The Hoosiers shot a season-low 29 percent from the field, and Indiana native Jaren Jackson Jr. blocked seven shots.

The Spartans (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) led the entire second half, but Indiana closed the gap in the final minutes.

Juwan Morgan led the charge for IU with 19 points in the second half after struggling to get just four in the first 20 minutes. In the last two minutes, however, the Hoosiers' Freddie McSwain Jr. missed a pair of free throws with his team trailing by one, and Jackson got a key block in the final seconds.

Devonte Green's half-court heave bounced off the back rim at the buzzer.

“Down the stretch, they just made a couple more winning basketball plays than us,” Morgan said. “When it comes time for those plays, you just have to buckle down and do it.”

Indiana (12-12, 5-8) remained within striking distance thanks to its work on the glass, particularly on the offensive end. With plenty of misses to work with, the Hoosiers outrebounded the Spartans 25-3 on the offensive boards.

“In East Lansing (when Michigan State outrebounded Indiana 45-27), they punked us,” Morgan said. “In a few words, that's just what happened. We came with this mindset, I know me, Freddie (McSwain), Collin (Hartman), and Justin (Smith), we talked amongst each other like 'this can't happen.' ”

McSwain, getting his first start of the season in place of freshman forward Smith, grabbed nine offensive rebounds (a career-high 16 overall) and brought needed energy all night.

“Clearly the amount of minutes (McSwain's) played and how hard he played tonight, it's hard to duplicate 16 rebounds in a game like he (had),” Hoosiers coach Archie Miller said. “He gave great effort. It's a credit to him; he played very hard tonight.”

The Hoosiers fell behind early because it couldn't get many shots to fall. During a critical stretch in the first half, the Spartans went on a 13-2 run while Indiana missed 12 consecutive shots. Indiana's two worst shooting nights of the season have both been against Michigan State.

Jackson had plenty to do with the Hoosiers' shooting woes, blocking six shots in the first half. The freshman used his wingspan to bother several IU shots near the rim and scored 10 points for the Spartans.

dsinn@jg.net