The Indiana come back was fast and furious, inspired and energetic. And yet, the result was all too similar for the Hoosiers of late, another case of 'too little, too late.'
Michigan State 74, Indiana 72. The Hoosiers' third straight home loss, and their eighth loss in 12 games.
The Hoosiers (19-12, 9-9 Big Ten) rallied from 11 down with less than four minutes to cut it to 73-71 with five seconds to play. Yogi Ferrell was inexplicably fouled near halfcourt by Denzel Valentine and went to the line for two shots and a chance to tie.
The first one tried to roll out, but fell in ... 73-72.
The second one hit the right side of the rim, and fell off. Game over.
Indiana's best free throw shooter -- and its unquestioned leader -- came that close to getting the game to overtime. But just like games at Maryland and against Purdue, Ferrell missed, and the Hoosiers lost.
"I told him, 'You've had a hell of a year. You've been one of the greatest players in this conference,'" Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "'I love your energy. I love the way you play.' Yogi is the master and he's hard to guard, we guarded him with a tribe. He didn't deserve to lose, but maybe we deserved to win. We've lost a lot of games at the free-throw line."
Ferrell has become the Heartbreak Kid playing for the Heartbreak Hoosiers. He plays so hard, does so many good things for his team, but hasn't been able to save his team from itself on at least three occasions.
"My shirt is drenched from holding on to him," Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Ferrell. "He hurts. These kids want to win. They practice so hard and it's not just the last couple days. He's got to bounce back. Yogi is a winner. Yogi is one of the greatest winners that I've ever had the chance to know. I love coaching him."
Indiana's late-season tailspin leaves it squarely on the bubble heading into the Big Ten Tournament, and Saturday's loss pretty much guarantees that the Hoosiers will be sweating it out on Selection Sunday.
Indiana sophomore Collin Hartman returned after missing the previous two games with a bone bruise in his leg. Hartman played 25 minutes, scoring one point on 0-of-3 shooting. He also had two rebounds, a block, and two turnovers.
"I didn't think we'd get that much because it wasn't determined until today," Crean said. "It was looking that way, that we were going to be able to get him to go, but because he did very little the last couple days, he had to play through it a bit."