After seeing a 67-56 lead shrink down to one, Travis Trice hit a free throw to extend it back to two, but missed the second. Denzel Valentine then committed a foul on Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell at center court, seemingly thinking the lead was three, not two.
Fortunately for Michigan State, Ferrell missed the second free throw to leave the MSU lead at 73-72 and Marvin Clark made his second free throw – despite trying to miss – to seal the win.
With the win, MSU improved to 12-6 in Big Ten play and locked up the No. 3 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
In his absence, freshman Marvin Clark stepped in and had 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting with six rebounds – four offensive. He had a few put backs on the offensive glass, helping MSU post 15 offensive rebounds despite the absence of Dawson.
The Spartans also had a career game from Alvin Ellis, who posted 16 points – easily topping his previous career high of 12 against Michigan last season.
Ellis had a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, including one late in the half to tie the game 34-34. His presence was much-needed early as Trice was in foul trouble with two in the first half and freshman Tum Tum Nairn had three before the end of the first half.
Trice led the Spartans with 21 points. He provided a 5-0 run in the second half after Indiana pulled within 44-43, slamming a dunk home in transition and burying a 3-pointer.
It was a tough shooting night for the Spartans, who hit just 7 of 28 from 3-point range. Struggles at the free-throw line again were an issue as Trice was solid with 8 of 9, but the rest of the Spartans hit just 3 of 11 and missed many critical chances to close the game down the stretch once again.