Spartans Land Early Big Ten Knockout

A 80-65 Michigan State victory over No. 13 Indiana is an early knockout in the Spartans opener of Big Ten play.

The opening of the Big Ten basketball season may have seen Michigan State fans on the edge of their seats. Opening with No. 13 ranked Indiana may not have been the path many teams would have enjoyed taking. However, Tom Izzo's young team came out focused and willing to do the small things that allow for a big win.

"Well, that was a heck of a stat," said Izzo. "I felt like for us, we played awfully well early. In fact, when we had that 34-16 lead, I thought we were playing well on the offensive end, the defensive end, we shot it well, and we rebounded pretty well."

Not lost during the game was the play of several younger Spartans against the Hoosiers. As Indiana head coach Tom Crean explained after the game there is more to young players just hitting a shot or two.

"There's experience, and there's youth," said Crean. The combination of the two really comes down to how your leadership is and how your older guys lead your young guys.

"Without knowing him I would assume Draymond Green does a good job of that. The guy that plays like he's a serious veteran is Keith Appling, he played like that tonight, he's been doing that. He played like an elite level guard."

Both teams found spots of hot shooting during the game as the Spartans were led by Appling's 25 points followed by Green (11 pts.) and Branden Dawson with 13 points on the night.

The Hoosiers leaned on Christian Watford who poured in a game high 26 points on the night to go with 10 rebounds.

In the end the Spartans visited the free throw line a total of 22 times hitting 77% from the charity stripe. Indiana was only give nine trips to the line and only hit on 55% of their shots.

The victory moves the Spartans to 12-2 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten play with a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers on New Year's Eve day at 3:00 pm est.

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