Short-Handed Hoosiers Fall To Spartans

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The short-handed Hoosiers didn't have enough in reserve for its trip to the Breslin Center.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The short-handed Hoosiers didn't have enough in reserve for its trip to the Breslin Center.

Maurice Ager and Paul Davis combined for 51 points, including eight during a pivotal 10-0 Michigan State run midway through the second half, to blow open a close game and give the Spartans to a 87-73 win over Indiana.

The eighth-ranked Hoosiers dropped their 12th straight at the Breslin Center dating back to 1991 and slipped to 10-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. No. 15 Michigan State, meanwhile, ended a two-game losing skid and improved to 13-4 and 2-1 in league play.

Indiana arrived in East Lansing with a pair of starters unavailable. D.J. White is sidelined indefinitely with a broken foot, while Lewis Monroe was unable to go after having hemorrhoid surgery. IU Coach Mike Davis said he hopes to have Monroe back for Tuesday's matchup with Illinois, but the Hoosiers certainly could have used him defensively against Ager.

The Spartans' leading scorer this season at more than 20 per game, Ager entered the contest averaging just 10.0 points and shooting 29 percent in his first two Big Ten games. Indiana didn't arrive with a get well card in hand, but it did give the senior wing plenty of wide open looks during his 28-point, 9-of-13 shooting night.

"They made the game too hard for us in the second half," said IU Coach Mike Davis. "Not having Lewis Monroe hurt us, but even having Lewis, with the way they played, the way they shot the basketball and the pace they played - they did what they had to do – take care of home."

Ager wasn't the only Spartan that had a good night shooting the basketball. Paul Davis added 23 points and 10 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting, and Michigan State shot 58.8 percent (30-of-51) overall. The Spartans were especially hot in the second half, when they blew open a close game thanks to 16-of-25 shooting (64 percent).

Michigan State started its decisive run after Davis and Marco Killingsworth were separated by officials after getting tangled up on a rebound at the 7:49 mark. Once the two teams returned from the television timeout Michigan State hit three of its next four shots over the next four minutes, while Indiana missed two shots, turned the ball over four times and committed seven fouls during the same stretch.

A six-point game quickly turned into a 76-60 Spartan lead with less than four minutes left, and Indiana was done.

Michigan State had averaged only 56 points in its first two Big Ten contests, but pushed the pace throughout against the Hoosiers. When the Spartans weren't scoring in transition, they were able to get plenty of high percentage shots in out of their halfcourt sets, including a slew of wide open looks as the 35-second shot clock neared zero.

"We normally don't give up that many points," said Earl Calloway, who started in the absence of Monroe. "There was a lot of switching and back door. We have to look at our mistakes on defense."

Michigan State's big night offensively overshadowed a good night offensively for Killingsworth and the Hoosiers. Killingsworth scored 27 on 13-of-22 shooting, while Robert Vaden added 20, including four 3-pointers. Indiana shot 54.7 percent from the floor, ending a streak of 30 straight wins for Indiana when it shot at least 50 percent from the floor.

Early on, it appeared Indiana might be able to overcome the absence of two starters and win in an arena that hasn't housed an IU victory in 15 years. Indiana jumped to a quick 6-0 lead behind a pair of Robert Vaden 3-pointers in the game's first minute, then opened its biggest lead, 17-10, after a Marshall Strickland 3-pointer at the 12:09 mark. But Ager then scored eight points during an 18-6 Michigan State run that gave the Spartans a 28-23 lead. In an up-tempo first half, the two teams would proceed to go back and forth the remainder of the period, with four ties in the half's final 4:54.

Ager, who was just 8-of-27 in the Spartans' losses at Illinois and Wisconsin last week, finished with 13 in the opening half, including an 18-footer with :03.2 on the clock to give the Spartans a 41-39 halftime lead.

"I felt we were in a real good spot," said Rod Wilmont.

But Michigan State took it to Indiana in second half, coming away its first win in three tries during the Big Ten season. Indiana, meanwhile, slipped a game behind Wisconsin for the Big Ten lead.

On the heels of the potentially season-ending injury to White, the double-digit loss was a tough one to swallow for an Indiana team that had climbed back into the nation's top 10 for the first time since 2002. Now, they'll have to try to bounce back. IU Coach Mike Davis said his team felt like a top five team once it had White back in the lineup, and they'll have to see if they can recapture that feeling in the wake of Wednesday's setback.

"I think we're still a top 5 team," said Wilmont. "It's hard to win on the road in the Big Ten. You have to go play as hard as you can, and that's what we lacked at the end I think we're still in the mix."

Indiana 73
Killingsworth 13-22 1-4 27, Ratliff 0-3 0-0 0, Strickland 3-4 1-1 9, Vaden 7-11 2-2 20, Calloway 2-6 4-4 8, Wilmont 3-5 0-0 7, Suhr 0-0 0-0 0, Allen 1-2 0-0 2, Kline 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-53 8-11 73.

Michigan State 87
Brown 3-6 1-2 8, Neitzel 2-7 1-1 5, Ager 9-13 6-6 28, Trannon 2-4 7-8 11, Davis 8-11 7-7 23, Ibok 0-1 0-0 0, Walton 2-3 0-0 4, Gray 4-6 0-0 8. Totals 30-51 22-24 87.

Halftime Score: Michigan State 41, Indiana 39. 3-Pointers: Indiana 7-16 (Ratliff 0-1, Strickland 2-3, Vaden 4-6, Calloway 0-3, Wilmont 1-3), Michigan State 5-16 (Brown 1-4, Neitzel 0-4, Ager 4-7, Davis 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 18 (Vaden 5), Michigan State 29 (Davis 10). Assists: Indiana 13 (Calloway 5), Michigan State 21 (Neitzel 7). Turnovers: Indiana 12 (Killingsworth 5), Michigan State 12 (Davis 3). Blocks: Indiana 1 (Ratliff), Michigan State 3 (Neitzel, Trannon, Gray). Officials: Ed Hightower, Mike Roberts, John Hughes. Attendance: 14,759. Top Stories