Bloomington – A different level of intensity and energy from Indiana didn't produce a different result Tuesday night.
Draymond Green scored 14 points off the bench to lead a balanced Michigan State attack, pacing the Spartans to a 72-58 win in front of 16,075 at Assembly Hall.
While Indiana's play was markedly different from its efforts in lopsided losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin last week, by the time the final horn sounded it was still Indiana's fourth consecutive double-digit loss and seventh straight setback overall, dropping Indiana to 9-16 overall and 3-10 in the Big Ten.
Michigan State (21-6/11-3), meanwhile, won its second straight and moved one-half game ahead of Ohio State for the conference lead.
While Indiana did manage to re-locate its intensity, Crean's team couldn't find its shooting stroke. The Hoosiers shot jump 34.9 percent (15-of-43) overall and 3-of-13 from the 3-point arc. They did make 25-of-28 from the free-throw line to stay in the game until midway through the second half, but the struggles from the field proved costly. Eleven of those free throws came from Verdell Jones, who missed only one of his 12 attempts while leading Indiana with 20 points.
Michigan State, in contrast, shot 63.0 percent in the opening half (17-of-27) and 59.3 percent overall (32-of-54), and eventually turned a 10-point halftime lead into a comfortable margin midway through the second half. While Indiana did manage to land a couple of Spartans in foul trouble, it had little impact as 10 different Michigan State players scored and nine played at least 11 minutes.
The contributions from some of Michigan State's lesser-knowns didn't come as a huge surprise to Crean.
"I'm not surprised when anyone plays well at Michigan State, because they don't get in the game if they're not capable," Crean said. "That's one of their strengths of his team year after year. He's got some good players that were highly recruited that don't get in the games."
While the result wasn't what Crean had hoped for, Crean had plenty of praise for his team's effort during the game. Case in point was when Devan Dumes stepped in front of the 6'6", 230-pound Green and drew a charge on a fastbreak opportunity with 7:18 remaining and the Hoosiers down 12, Crean sprinted onto the court to salute Dumes' effort.
Crean had some more modest approval afterwards.
"We played very hard – we competed," Crean said. "That's what it's about. They have a lot of spirit and toughness inside of them, and they brought it."
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo, meanwhile, was more effusive about Indiana's performance and the job he thinks his former assistant is doing and will continue to do in Bloomington.
"This team got condemned for effort, maybe by (Crean), maybe by people," Izzo said. "And I told me team they'd come out and player harder and rebound….They played hard. They're missing a player or two."
One of those players is Maurice Creek, who Izzo said he went up to before the start of the game and jokingly asked how he could ‘do that to my buddy.' But all joking aside, Izzo says he has no doubt that Crean will get the Indiana program headed in a better direction.
"He'll get it turned," Izzo said. "Look me in the eye – he'll get it turned, and he'll do it quicker than most."
That turnaround didn't come Tuesday night. Indiana managed to keep the game close early on, swapping the lead five times with the Spartans. A 6-0 Spartan run pushed the lead to eight, 29-21, with 6:19 left in the half, and then four straight Michigan State points to close the half extended the margin to 10.
Indiana would stay within striking distance for most of the second half, but ultimately would get no closer. Michigan State finally put the game away with back-to-back 3-pointers from Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen that extended the lead to 66-49.
"Every time we thought we were going to cut it and started to make a little dent, get a little momentum, Kalin (Lucas) would come back with a big shot," Crean said.
Watford 4-9 6-8 14, Pritchard 1-4 0-0 2, Hulls 2-7 0-0 5, Rivers 1-5 2-2 4, Jones 4-9 11-12 20, Moore 0-1 2-2 2, Capobianco 1-1 0-0 3, Elston 0-1 2-2 2, Dumes 2-6 2-2 6, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 25-28 58.
MICHIGAN STATE 72
Morgan 5-8 0-0 10, Roe 3-4 0-0 6, Nix 3-4 0-0 6, Lucas 6-11 0-2 13, Allen 4-8 0-0 10, Thornton 1-1 0-0 2, Summers 3-5 1-2 7, Kebler 0-1 0-0 0, Dahlman 0-1 0-0 0, Green 5-5 4-6 14, Crandell 0-0 0-0 0, Lucious 0-4 0-0 0, Herzog 1-1 0-0 2, Sherman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-54 5-10 72.
3-Pointers: Indiana 3-13 (Capobianco 1-1, Hulls 1-5, Jones 1-3, Watford 0-1, Dumes 0-2, Moore 0-1), Michigan State 3-11 (Allen 2-5, Lucas 1-3, Morgan 0-1, Summers 0-1, Lucioius 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 30 (Rivers 6, Watford 6), Michigan State 24 (Roe 4, Green 4, Sherman 4). Assists: Indiana 5 (Dumes 2, Jones 2), Michigan State 13 (Roe 5). Turnovers: Indiana 16, Michigan State 8. Blocks: Indiana 2 (Watford, Pritchard), Michigan State 3 (Morgan, Roe, Sherman). Steals: Indiana 2, Michigan State 8. Attendance: 16,075. Officials: Jim Burr, Rick Hartzell, Steve Olson.
Better Effort Doesn't Produce Better Result
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