Coming into tonight's game Ager had struggled in the previous two games against Illinois and Wisconsin. However, Ager had no problem shooting in the Breslin Center where he was 9-13 from the field and 4-7 from behind the arc.
It was a tight game in the first half where each team exchanged leads throughout the game. But the Spartans came out strong in the beginning of the first half where they were sparked by an alley-oop from Drew Neitzel to Ager. Michigan State out-scored Indiana by 12 points in the second half and made 64 percent of their shots.
After only scoring two points against Wisconsin, Paul Davis responded with the performance coach Izzo is used to seeing out of his senior center. Davis had 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Hoosiers.
"It's a no-brainer, we can't win if me and Paul both play bad," said Ager after the game.
Michigan State was energized by their two seniors and a loud home crowd at the Breslin Center. It looked like a different team than we've seen in the past week and coach Izzo was pleased to see the difference.
Izzo made it no secret to the public that he wasn't pleased with the two senior's performances in the past two games. He has challenged them to be the leaders of this team and was looking for both of the players to respond against the Hoosiers.
"That's what you're supposed to do with good players that have been around for four years," Izzo said. I do spend a lot of time with them, and I tell them, "I'm not going to make excuses."
The Spartans were having problems in the paint containing the Hoosiers big man and leading scorer, Marco Killingsworth. Killingsworth had 27 points and was 13-22 from the field. Robert Vaden added 20 points for the Hoosiers.
Michigan State relied on defensive stopper Matt Trannon, who started the game at power forward, to handle the duties of guarding the Hoosiers' big man. Trannon also had a career-high 11 points in the Spartans' victory.
Michigan State seemed to get back into a rhythm on offense thanks to their two leading scorers Ager and Davis. Shannon Brown had 8 points and 4 rebounds; Brown has been the go-to-guy for Michigan State on offense in the past two games when the offense has struggled.
"It's not the end of the world when you're 0-2, but who's kidding who? Everybody was down," Izzo said. "It wasn't a monstrous step but we beat a good team. That's the fifth Top Ten team we've played, and the third we've beaten."
It wasn't necessarily a must win game for the Spartans but it certainly was a big one. Indiana was coming off a tough win against Ohio State, giving them their first loss in the season but they had to be without starting forward D.J. White who was out with an injured foot that he hurt in the previous game.
Indiana obviously was hurting without White in the lineup. After the game head coach Mike Davis said, "I could kind of see it, our guys were down today without him."
Michigan State will now head to Columbus this weekend where they will take on Ohio State. This will be the fourth consecutive game against a team in the Top 25, and an end to a treacherous opening schedule in the Big Ten.