The Assembly Hall
The #6 Michigan State Spartans saw their record on the year fall to 23-6 (14-4) with a 63-62 loss the Indiana Hoosiers. The loss comes after the lowly Hoosier beat the Spartans 79-75 in an overtime loss back on February 2.
The Spartans were led by the amazing Cassius Winston who had 20 points and 11 assists for the double-double while playing 38 of the games 40 minutes. Kenny Goins had 14 points and three rebounds. Xavier Tillman rounded out the Spartan double-digit scorers adding 11 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
The Hoosier led 2-0 to start the game and never lead again, until the end.
Tom Izzo said of the heartbreaking loss, “It's a shame what happened today. We just ran out of gas. We played good enough to be up 10 most of that game. We have to give them credit, a guy that only hits four 3's all years and hits three in the first half. The guys followed the game plan, looked like it was good second half and then we just ran out of bodies. I was forced to play (Matt) McQuaid with his unbelievable heroic effort. I made a coaching mistake, tried to play Kyle Ahrens, but he just couldn't go. He told me a little late, but the poor kid just couldn't get off the bench. (Thomas) Kithier struggled a little bit, but I thought our guards did a good job of getting rebounds. However, our bigs did not rebound as well as they should have or could. I think both of them played way too many minutes. That's the story of the last couple of weeks, but we'll find a way to do what we can do. Give Indiana credit. They made some big shots. The last thing I put on the board, rebound, rebound and rebound. We did a hell of a job the first half but then they just kept running guys at us and we didn't have the bodies to run at them."
Hoosier head coach Archie Miller said of the game, “Just another hard-fought game. Michigan State obviously is a terrific team, and being down a couple guys doesn't help their cause. But they clearly are tournament ready and also a Big Ten championship type of a group. They played that way for good portions of the game.”
The Spartans shot 54% from the field including 40% from the three. The Spartans shot a stellar 80% from the free throw line. The Spartans had 16 assists on 26 baskets.
The Spartans lost the battle of the boards 31-30. The Spartans had an acceptable 10 turnovers. The Spartans also allowed the Hoosiers to pick up a pathetic 15 offensive boards, while the men in green only grabbed five.
Miller added of Cassius Winston, “Well, they probably set as many screens for him as any player you're going to guard, so when you're guarding him, you're getting nailed. I mean, you're getting nailed for 40 minutes.”
Izzo played eight players including three of his five freshmen.
Izzo added of the possible return of Nick Ward, “I don't know. I am hoping in a week, week and a half, two weeks. But, understand this, he's got a broken hand. We could have used him to get a rebound, but I don't know what he can do with that hand. It's on his shooting hand. I am not waiting for Nick to come back. I need Nick to come back, but I can't rely on that. He'll come back, he's been working his tail off. Some of this is in a lot bigger hands than mind, so I really can't even speculate on that. Except that I've heard from numerous people around the country that in three to four weeks guys have come back. Now, coming back and being able to play at a high level are two different things. But 10 minutes of him banging around in there probably would have helped us. Could it be the Michigan game? Could it be the Big Ten Tournament? If I was betting man, I would say somewhere in between that."
The Spartans return to Big Ten action against Nebraska this Tuesday at 7 PM in East Lansing. That game can be seen on ESPN.
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