EAST LANSING, Mich. --- In an environment so difficult to play in for road teams, any lead in the Breslin Center is considered prescious for visitors.
Indiana learned that pretty quickly, as a eight-point lead evaporated in a matter of a few minutes in a 88-69 loss to Michigan State Sunday in East Lansing.
Spartans forward and National Player of the Year candidate Denzel Valentine finished with a largely effortless 30 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the field, adding 13 assists and five rebounds.
Along with the efforts of guard Bryn Forbes and fellow forward Matt Costello, the trio of Michigan State seniors scored a combined 66 of the Spartans' 88 points.
Costello, who finished with 22 points, and Valentine each set career-highs in points and assists, respectively. Forbes finished with 14 points for Michigan State (21-5, 8-5 Big Ten)
In his first start since the Wake Forest game in the Maui Invitational, grad transfer forward Max Bielfeldt led IU (20-6, 10-3) with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. The loss moves the Hoosiers into a tie with Maryland for second place in the conference standings.
Up 40-32 after a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Robert Johnson, Indiana would not score another basket over the final 3:56 of the first half as Michigan State used a 9-0 run to gain the lead at halftime.
The Hoosiers had 24 seconds on the final possesion of the first half, but it resulted in resulted in a missed layup and tip-in by Bryant on consecutive shots.
That would capture Indiana's struggles at the start of the second half. From the 3:56 mark of the first half through the 8:17 mark of the second, the Spartans outscored the Hoosiers 37-15. Overall, Michigan State outscored Indiana 47-29 in the second half.
As the deficit grew, so too did IU's dependency on the 3-point shot. After starting 6 of 9 from beyond the arc nearly 11 minutes into the game, the Hoosiers would finish just 5 of 21 the rest of the way.
Indiana senior guard Yogi Ferrell, whose nine points tied his second-lowest scoring output of the season, felt some of that frustration as his shooting slump continued. After shooting 3 of 10 from the field Sunday, he's now 8 of 34 from the field over his last three games.
Equally challenged was junior forward Troy Williams, Indiana's second-leading scorer behind Ferrell. Committing a turnover on Indiana's first possesion of the game appeared to set a precedent for the rest of the night, as he was held scoreless and managed just five shot attempts. He finished with two turnovers total.
Indiana will look to bounce back from the blowout loss with a home matchup next Wednesday vs. Nebraska at 8:30 p.m.