Indiana came out hyped and looking ready to compete with the no. 5 Michigan State in front of home fans at Assembly Hall, but a scoring drought and unforced errors were too much to overcome as the Hoosiers fell to the Spartans 73-56 on Saturday.
Coach Tom Crean definitely had a game plan that could slow coach Tom Izzo‘s squad as the Hoosiers started the game matching the Spartans step for step in the first eight minutes. However, the Hoosiers slowly began to fall victim to their own carelessness. Michigan State does play a rugged man-to-man game, but the turnovers Indiana committed during the first half had to little to do with that.
Indiana made noise early with crisp, quick and timely passes during the early stages, but those passes devolved into sloppy and predictable ones which allowed Michigan State to get steals around the 3-point arc. These steals ignited the Spartans’ break game near the half-court line. Michigan State took advantage and began to take control a little more than halfway in the first half, going up by nine before the half ended while the Hoosiers were beginning to slip on offense.
The woes continues on offense for Indiana in the first five minutes of the second half, and Michigan State took a 15-point lead just three minutes in. Indiana did not score for six minutes because the team continually took ill-advised guarded jumpers.
Yogi Ferrell, who played well for most of the first half, did not look nearly as comfortable as the game went along. He scored 10 of his 17 points in the first half, and did not score again until he hit two free throws at the 10:01 mark in the second half. In the end, he just couldn’t find a complete game.
Obviously, Michigan State is one of the premier teams in the Big 10 and in the country, but Indiana did not help itself with 15 turnovers and poor decision making in the half-court offense. A foul on Gary Harris when he made a 3-pointer was followed by a Stanford Robinson technical foul that not only all but ended the Hoosiers’ chances, but also represented a microcosm of the immaturity that the team displayed in the game.
The rest of the conference should take note that the Hoosiers can become frustrated if one or two calls go the other way or if a few jumpers miss. Indiana’s laziness on offense also hurt the team in rebounding. The Hoosiers came into the game averaging 13 more rebounds than their opponents. Michigan State out-rebounded Indiana, 34-32. Indiana is now 0-2 in the conference and if the offense does not clean itself up, the Hoosiers are just another middle-of-the-road team.