Bloomington, Ind. – As coach Mike Davis stood on the Assembly Hall sidelines in his last home game as Indiana's head coach, he got one last thank you from junior guard Errek Suhr.
The former walk-on who might not be playing basketball if it was not for Davis came up with two key plays in the final three and a half minutes to give Davis a win in his final game at Assembly Hall over No. 18 Michigan State, 78-71.
Indiana held the lead most of the game, but the Spartans took a two-point lead on a Maurice Ager jumper with just under four minutes to play. Not only did the Spartans pull ahead, but it appeared they also had taken the momentum away from the Hoosiers.
"We knew they would come back and have a strong second half," said Suhr. "We knew their coaches would get them going, but we never got worried. We kept playing hard and that's why we won."
Indiana's fortunes changed on the very next possession when Suhr set a hard screen on Michigan State's Paul Davis, who plowed right through the 5-8 Suhr. It was Davis' fifth foul, and Suhr knocked down two free throws to tie the game after knocking out the Spartans' No. 1 interior option with the screen.
"I thought Errek Suhr did a wonderful job with his energy," said Mike Davis. "That was a great play to stand in there and take the charge.
"That was a big play. The turning point of the game was fouling (Paul Davis) out of the basketball game."
Davis fouled out with 14 points and six rebounds, playing six minutes less than his season average. He came into the matchup with the Hoosiers playing 31.3 minutes a game, but played only 25 minutes due to his foul trouble.
"I just set a screen on him and he was coming right at me," said Suhr. "I knew he had four fouls and to get another one was crucial. I never flop. I felt the contact and that's why I went down. I knew that if he went right through me that I was going to take the charge and he didn't sidestep me, he came right at me."
Despite Davis' departure, Michigan State stuck with the Hoosiers until the final minute and trailed by four with 90 seconds left on the clock. Suhr answered the call again by intercepting an errant Travis Walton pass meant for Ager. Suhr missed the layup on the other end, but came down with the rebound and was fouled. Suhr hit both free throws to give Indiana a six-point edge with 29 seconds to go and took the Spartans emotionally out of the game.
"I was matched up on Ager, and he had been having a lights-out game," said Suhr. "I didn't even really look at the ball very much, because I knew the ball was coming to him, I just tried to read him and just face guard him when their big guy came to set a screen on me, because I knew the ball was going to him. To be honest, the ball just kind of landed in my hands because I was in the right position."
Being in the right position at the end of the game is something Suhr has dreamed of his entire life – and he will never forget the man that gave him that opportunity.
"Everything just worked out perfect today," said Suhr. "It was emotional for all of us. It was a huge win for us. I just thank Coach Davis for giving me the opportunity to play and try to make a difference. For him to let me play and be in at the end of the game to try to help the team, I'm just really grateful for it."
Suhr Takes Charge In IU Win
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