Vonleh scoreless in second half against Spartans
After Noah Vonleh scored Indiana's first bucket of the afternoon off a hook shot in the paint over Michigan State's big man Adreian Payne, it looked like Vonleh and IU's paint presence may have a chance at competing with the Spartans.
From there, though, Vonleh would take just three more shots – all the in first half – and finish with just five points, his second-lowest output of the season.
Tom Crean and Will Sheehey both said in their press conferences after the game that Vonleh has to become more vocal down low and demand the ball to try and give IU's offensive attack more dimension.
"No doubt he's (Vonleh) got to become a more demanding presence," Crean said. "He's got to be a demanding presence and become downright a little selfish."
Hoosiers out-matched in the paint
With Vonleh nearly invisible in the second half because of foul trouble, IU was dominated in the paint. With Luke Fischer no longer on the roster and Jeff Howard not seeing any time, the burden was left to Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea to try and go toe-to-toe in the paint with Michigan State's Payne and the rest of the Spartan front court.
Payne scored just four points and pulled down five rebounds, but Michigan State became the first team to out-rebound IU this season, 34-32. The Spartans led the Hoosiers 30-18 on points in the paint.
Crean noted in his press conference that his team strayed from throwing the ball into the paint, beyond Vonleh not asking for it enough.
"It's no CNN news flash that we're not a great 3-point shooting team," Crean said.
Robinson has break-out second half
Even before his career-high 11 points Saturday, a handful of IU basketball fans and media members had been calling for IU freshman guard Stanford Robinson to step into the starting lineup. In the second half of IU's loss, Robinson made a great case for himself if he hadn't already.
With IU trailing by 15 after Michigan State capped a 15-1 run that spanned the end of the first and beginning of the second halves, Robinson made two quick layups to spark the IU offense. Sheehey would follow with a 3-pointer, and IU would navigate to within eight points, the closest the team came within all half.
Another Robinson jumper just a few minutes later quelled a Spartan 5-0 run.
Robinson added two assists and four rebounds to go along with his career-high in points in 26 minutes – more than each of Vonleh, Troy Williams and Hollowell played Saturday.
Indiana natives: MSU vs. IU
In the game's opening minutes, it appeared that it may be a battle between two of the best Indiana high school guards from the 2012 class: IU's Yogi Ferrell (Park Tudor) and Michigan State's Gary Harris (Hamilton Southeastern). Ferrell scored five of IU's first nine points to give the Hoosiers their largest lead of the afternoon at 9-5. He went on to score 10 of IU's first 14 points, but he went scoreless for the rest of the half and finished with 17 in the game on 5-of-11 shooting.
Harris, on the other hand, had a career afternoon in Bloomington, one of now three memorable games he's played against the Hoosiers since choosing the Spartans over Crean and company. Harris finished with a career-high 26 points to improve upon games of 21 and 19 last season against IU – both losses.
Harris scored his first 11 points in a personal 11-2 run against the Hoosiers early in the first half. He shot 8-for-18 from the field, including 5-for-10 from beyond the 3-point line.
Fellow Spartan Branden Dawson, hailing from Gary, Ind., followed Harris's 26 with 13 points of his own. The duo had 28 of Michigan States' 33 points in the first half.
The rest of IU's Indiana natives weren't quite as impressive. Of those who saw playing time, Collin Hartman (Cathedral), Evan Gordon (North Central) and Jonny Marlin (Center Grove) all went scoreless in 19 combined minutes Saturday. Ferrell's partner in the starting backcourt, Hollowell (Lawrence Central), scored just four points on 1-of-5 shooting from the floor and committed two turnovers. Devin Davis (Warren Central) made just one bucket from the field as well but did manage to pull down six rebounds – second on the team to Vonleh's nine.