BLOOMINGTON – Indiana couldn’t overcome two big pushes by Michigan State and its own mistakes Saturday.
The Hoosiers fell 73-56 to the No. 5 Spartans in front of a crowd of 17,472 at Assembly Hall.
“We got to grow out of this, because it is getting me downright angry,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “We got to grow out of understanding how not to take momentum.
“We struggle right now with understanding momentum. We struggle with understanding time and score. Some of it’s immaturity, some of it’s youth, some of it is not understanding the ball has to go through the paint.”
IU (10-5, 0-2 Big Ten) was able to stay with Michigan State (13-1, 2-0) for most of the first half, even with a scoring drought that lasted more than 4 1/2 minutes in the game’s opening 10 minutes.
But after Jeremy Hollowell’s jumper pulled the Hoosiers within 25-24 with 2:56 to play in the first half, Michigan State closed the half with seven unanswered points.
Branden Dawson hit a layup with 2:48 to play in the half, and after a turnover by IU’s Evan Gordon, Gary Harris sank a 3 for a 30-24 lead with 2:16 to play.
Harris knocked down another 3 with 45 seconds left in the half for a 33-24 halftime lead.
“They had too many open looks off their break,” IU’s Will Sheehey said. “We did a good job of stopping the initial break, but their secondary break, we didn’t challenge enough shots.”
Michigan State went on a 7-1 run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half to push its lead to 40-25.
IU never cut its deficit to less than eight in the second half, and the game swung permanently in Michigan State’s favor with 8:17 to play.
Harris hit a 3-pointer to push the Spartans’ lead to 53-41 and was fouled by the Hoosiers’ Stanford Robinson. The IU freshman argued the foul and received a technical.
Harris hit 1 of 2 free throws from the technical then added the free throw off the initial foul to give Michigan State a 55-41 lead, and that advantage didn’t dip below double digits the rest of the way.
“We were going to have to play a great game to beat them,” Crean said. “Our first half hurt us and the start of our second half. We scrapped back, but we never could get over the hump inside that end of the first half, beginning of the second half.”
Harris finished with a game-high 26 points for Michigan State. Keith Appling scored 14, and Dawson had 13.
Yogi Ferrell scored 17 for IU. Sheehey finished with 13, and Robinson added 11 points.
The Hoosiers, who average 16.3 turnovers, had 15 turnovers against the Spartans. Michigan State scored 22 points off those turnovers, while IU got 12 points off the Spartans’ 11 turnovers.
“We still had more than what we want to get for turnovers,” Ferrell said. “We didn’t get enough points off their turnovers.”
Michigan State was able to control the paint against IU, outscoring the Hoosiers 30-18 inside and finishing with a slight 34-32 rebounding edge.
“We played hard. They played smart,” Crean said. “Both teams played hard. I thought there were great battles on the board.
“But their maturity, their experience, their understanding of each other that was a big, big difference in the game. The biggest difference in the game.”