The Indiana Hoosiers have once again taken care of business. Tom Crean’s squad defeated its Big Ten rival, the Michigan State Spartans, in a thrilling battle by the final score of 75-70.
It was a back-and-forth affair that kept fans on the edge of their seats, and nothing was safe until the final whistle blew. This game had the feel of an NCAA tournament matchup, aided by its prime-time showing on CBS on Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps the main story of this one was the three-point shooting, as the Hoosiers buried eight of their 21 attempts from beyond the arc, while Tom Izzo’s boys knocked down 11-of-23 triples.
Foul shooting proved to be the difference, considering the Spartans only took six attempts from the charity stripe (making five) while the Hoosiers knocked in 13-of-20 from the line.
With the result of this game in the books, Indiana has taken over sole possession of first place in the conference and improved to 18-2 (6-1 Big Ten), while Sparty now drops to 17-4 (6-2 Big Ten).
IU’s Victor Oladipo put himself on the map with great defense, shooting and all-around play. He finished the game with 21 points (8-of-12 shooting), seven rebounds, six steals and three blocks
Gary Harris did his best to keep MSU in it, banging 5-of-10 treys on his way to 21 points, but it wasn’t enough to help the Spartans emerge victorious.
At the halftime buzzer, Indiana led Michigan State 44-38, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the Hoosiers netted six of 12 attempts from long range on the way to a blazing 17-of-28 field-goal makes over the first 20 minutes of play.
The Hoosiers weren’t able to stay as hot shooting, and their defensive intensity waned at times in the second half, letting the Spartans hang around for much of the game. Nevertheless, they did just enough to get it done in a tough conference battle that could have gone either way.
It was a hard-earned win for IU basketball, and it continues to look like a favorite come March Madness.
Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde summed up the consensus feeling about this contest:
ESPN’s official college hoops Twitter feed noted the intensity of this Big Ten rivalry game:
Jeff Anderson of Vikings.com noted that a special guest kept appearing in the background during the television broadcast.
Some observers certainly thought the fans and crowd had something to do with the result and calls during the game:
ESPN summed it all up for us at the conclusion of the action: