The No. 16. Michigan State Spartans (12-2, 1-0) welcomed previously undefeated No. 13 Indiana Hoosiers (12-1, 0-1) to the Breslin Center Wednesday night to open up Big Ten Conference play. The Spartans came into the game streaking, winning 11 straight games, while the Hoosiers had a streak of 12 wins of their own. The theme of streaking continued into the Big Ten battle.
Michigan State came out of the gates with more energy seen in the Breslin Center than over a year. The student section called the “Izzone” was compiled of MSU alumni due to the fact that students were still on Christmas break.
The older, yet rowdy crowd, helped the Spartans build an 18 point first half lead. It was 34-16 before Indiana went on a streak of its own to end the first half.
The Hoosiers extended their streak to 20-2 in the beginning of the second half. The Hoosiers climbed back to take the lead, thanks to forward Christian Watford who scored 26 points.
Midway through the second half the Hoosiers led by as much as nine points before Tom Izzo rallied his players to end the game with yet another streak.
Sophomore guard Keith Appling played a fantastic game scoring 25 points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out five assists, while only turning the ball over twice. With Appling, and surprisingly junior center Derrick Nix, who added 14 points, five rebounds and at one point leading a fast break, the Spartans took the lead back for good on a 20-0 run.
One focus for the Spartans was to contain Indiana freshman standout Cody Zeller. The duo of Nix and sophomore center Adreian Payne took Zeller right out of the game. Zeller came into the game leading the Hoosiers in both points and rebounds per game with over 15 and eight, respectively. Zeller’s final stat line resembled more of a freshman's than a future lottery pick, with four points and three rebounds.
The win over Indiana marks the sixth consecutive victory over the Hoosiers for the Spartans, a program record. The 12-game win streak is the longest since the 2000-2001 Spartans won 12 in a row.
MSU is looking to end 2011 on a high note when it plays at Nebraska next on New Year’s Eve at 3:30 p.m.