Archie Miller’s side went into East Lansing on Saturday and pulled off an improbable win against No. 6 Michigan State, taking home a 79-75 victory in overtime.
For the Hoosiers, the win snaps a seven-game losing streak. With six of their remaining nine games back at home, Indiana has put itself in a position to compete in the Big Ten. For the Spartans, it’s their second straight loss after falling to Purdue last weekend.
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Here’s what else the win marked
- It’s the first time since Dec. 16, 2017 that Indiana had beaten a ranked team. On that night, the Hoosiers took down No. 18 Notre Dame in overtime in Indianapolis.
- The win makes Indiana 3-0 when ESPN’s College Gameday is on-site for a Hoosiers’ contest.
- It’s the first time Indiana has beaten Michigan State since Jan. 21, 2017.
Hoosiers have been down, but not out in this one
Indiana has overcome deficits of at least five points in nine of its 13 wins this season. The Hoosiers had been missing that comeback juice in their last seven games, but had it Saturday night against the Spartans. Indiana trailed by as many as six points in this game and went behind by five points with 10 minutes to play in the second half. Michigan State also had a two-point lead in overtime.
Free throws were the difference
Two numbers stick out when looking at the box score from this game. Indiana shot 68.4 percent from the charity stripe while Michigan State struggled mightily, making 36.4 percent of its shots from there.
Down the stretch, free throws were crucial as both teams were making frequent trips to the line. The Spartans misfired on five free throw attempts combined between the last three minutes of the second half and overtime. The Hoosiers sank six free throws in overtime, shots that essentially sealed the win.
Entering this game, neither side ranked in the top 50 of free throw percentage in Division I. Maybe they’ll value the charity stripe shot a little bit more from here on out.
Indiana gets it done without Morgan
The Hoosiers were without one of their star players, senior forward Juwan Morgan, for most of this game. He was making an impact in the first half — tallying five points, six rebounds and two assists — but left the game just before halftime. Morgan dove for a loose ball and came out of a scrum holding his left shoulder. The native of Waynesville, Missouri didn’t play in the second half or overtime, but his teammates stepped up.
Five Indiana players scored in double-digits, including De’Ron Davis and Devonte Green, who combined for 23 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and two blocks off the bench. Al Durham added 14 points and Romeo Langford led the way with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists, and he also hit a big three-pointer in overtime that gave Indiana the lead. Langford is the top freshman scorer in the Big Ten, averaging 17.3 points per game.
While Langford shined for Indiana with big shots, Justin Smith may have had the most important play of the game. With four seconds left in overtime — and with Indiana leading by just two points — Michigan State’s Cassius Winston drove to the hoop and lofted up a shot. But Smith came over and got just enough of his finger tips on the ball to disrupt it. Davis grabbed the rebound, was fouled, made two shots and the game was over.
Smith had three blocks in the game to go along his double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, Indiana swatted away seven of Michigan State’s shots. Coming into this game, Indiana was just seventh in the Big Ten in blocked shots per-game as a team with a mark of 4.3. Duke leads the nation in the statistic with 7.6 swats per-game.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.