Spartans stomp Hoosiers, 88-69

EAST LANSING, Mich. — There were still nine minutes to play when Alvin Ellis III delivered the dagger.

It came on an open 3-pointer in the corner, one of the many shots Indiana failed to guard during its worst half of the conference season.

Yes, Indiana’s latest trip to the Breslin Center resembled so many others to this green and white house of horrors. The Hoosiers couldn’t sustain their early surge of momentum, getting blown away during a second-half romp in the No. 8 Spartans’ 88-69 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine led the way for the home team, scoring a game-high 30 points as a matchup problem Indiana couldn’t solve.

Valentine was at the heart of the Spartans’ runaway performance, dividing his points equally with 15 in each half. Indiana, which led by as many as 10 points in the first half, offered little punch after building an early lead.

The Spartans built a 41-40 halftime lead and outscored IU 23-4 during a nine-minute stretch midway through the second half. Indiana returns home to host Nebraska on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

IU coach Tom Crean shook up his starting lineup for the first time since the Big Ten opener, inserting Max Bielfeldt in place of Collin Hartman ahead of the frontcourt matchup with Michigan State’s Deyonta Davis and Matt Costello.

Bielfeldt rewarded the move with a team-high 10 first-half points, securing the early advantage in his matchup with Davis. Bielfeldt finished with a team-high 15 points.

“For awhile, he was the best player on the floor,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

At least for one half, Indiana refused to be knocked off balance in a hostile environment, moving the ball with fluidity, forcing stops and answering Michigan State’s big early baskets with shots of their own. The Hoosiers had assists on 13 of their first 14 field goals and outrebounded the Spartans 21-15 in the first half.

By the final media timeout of the first half, Indiana was shooting 16-for-30. The Hoosiers shot 10-for-39 the rest of the way.

IU led for nearly 11 minutes across the middle portion of the first half, building their lead to 33-23 on a Bielfeldt layup at the 7:58 mark. But the Spartans held IU scoreless over the final four minutes of the half, storming back with a 9-0 run that gave them a 41-40 halftime lead.

While Costello struggled in his matchup with Bielfeldt and Thomas Bryant early, he bounced back with a big second half. Costello scored 13 of his eventual 22 points during his final 14 minutes on the floor.

The Indiana scoring drought carried over to the second half, with IU going nearly five minutes without a basket until OG Anunoby dumped in a layup and drew a foul around the 14:00 mark.

But it wasn’t enough to stem an eventual 16-2 Michigan State run. Valentine capped the spurt with a 3-pointer that built the Spartans’ lead to 59-47 with 13 minutes remaining.

Four minutes later, Ellis delivered the dagger, sinking his corner 3 to put Michigan State ahead 66-49 and send the Hoosiers home with yet another deflating loss in East Lansing.

Troy Williams struggled, finishing without any points and posting a plus/minus of minus-23. It was the second time in as many years that Williams did not score in the Breslin Center.

This story will be updated.


  1. Didn’t expect a win today, but…….Amazing, how bad their defense was. Players totally losing their men, allowing uncontested open looks or drives to the basket. IU is built to win when their 3 point shots are falling. When they are not, forget many wins against the top teams on the road which probably means a short run in the NCAA’s. Troy Williams should lose his starting job to OG. He has never mastered the fundamentals and his ball handling is embarrassing. Nevertheless, would expect home wins against Nebraska and Purdue this week Very hard to beat an Izzo team at full strength.

  2. They didn’t have Tum Tum at full strength…..MSU was not at full strength….and neither is Indiana without JBJ.

  3. Harv,
    You are right about JB, although he would not have made a difference on defense today. IU missed him against Penn State and Wisconsin when a couple of shots may have made the difference.

  4. I guess you ran into a Sparty team that was having one of those games. Indiana is by far my second favorite team in the land. I think you guys are onto something real good this year and it’s great to see some of the old team I used to watch. Keep it up and you could have a fun run at tourny time.

  5. My only thought is that Double Digit drubbings to Duke and MSU; then a bad loss to Penn State…any more drubbings by teams ranked or THOUGHT to be better ; endangers IU’s chances for The Dance…even more so if they lose to weaker team in Big 10 tourney. Crean’s inability to draw up set plays to stop the bleeding and recover the confidence of the team was on exhibition and wasn’t there.

  6. Yogi’s game high minutes through out the season with 30 plus minutes in every game has resulted in him , now having a fatigue problem.

  7. TJ, if the Hoosiers win 22 games and finish in the top 5 of the Big Ten they are pretty much a lock for the Big Dance. I don’t know that they will win a game, that just depends on the match up. I’ll be surprised if they hang around for long.

    IU South, I think you may be correct. That’s two games in a row he didn’t look like he had much life in his legs.

  8. Sad that all that energy was wasted on cupcakes….

    This team is 10-3…They are securely in the Big Dance. It’s about as difficult to win in East Lansing as Assembly Hall.. I’m pretty sure road wins are very tough to come by in any of the power conferences. Exactly why you can’t make too much of a win against the Hawkeyes on McCracken or this one loss against an MSU team in a must-win situation. We caught MSU right on the heels their coming up just short in West Lafayette All teams run on emotions….We were coming off a big win…MSU was coming off a road game they could have easily stolen. They were also flirting with a .500 conference record in the event of a loss today.

    Their are rare teams that play through emotions and never relax…We celebrate those team decades beyond their achievements…..Where is a team in all of college hoops this year that has demonstrated no resting on laurels? I can’t think of any. Maybe Kansas? The Pac 12 is all over the place….Notre Dame has had big wins to go along with halfhearted efforts and ugly losses…Duke has had much of the same bipolar season….Please tell me of that ‘special’ team this year(major conference, mid-major, independent) that hasn’t been pushed around on the road?

    I wouldn’t make too much of this loss. Yogi is fine…He’ll find his second wind… This is not one of those rare teams that demands of itself something only seen once every decade or so….But they are still a very sound team and a very dangerous team when they are totally invested…They’ll be invested in March….Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have been as invested today, but that’s just the human element few teams can ever put totally aside.

  9. I recall as soon as last season ended, one of the concerns was whether Troy Williams would turn pro. For every 3-pointer made or spectacular dunk off a missed shot, there are dozens of plays like Sunday, in which he stands on the perimeter, dribbling and sizing up the D. Then, as he takes off toward the basket, he dribbles it off his foot. Or as he heads toward the basket, he gets his feet tangled and falls flat on his face. Or, he actually makes it to the bucket and flings it up and has no idea where the ball is going. How on Earth is this guy a pro prospect? His athleticism certainly rates an 8 or 9 on a scale of 10, but his basketball IQ and basketball skills don’t even hit a 5. … Oh, and why was Niego getting so much PT early in the game? On one offensive possession, he had a wide-open 3 with nobody near, and darn near broke the backboard with his brick. And on a defensive possession, he saved the ball from going out of bounds right under the MSU basket — and Sparty scored an uncontested layup. He should’ve gotten an assist on that one. … And one more thing I’m curious about — am I imagining things, or have Zeisloft’s minutes been cut significantly? Granted, he can’t do much more than shoot 3s, but he can do that very well. And when you go through stretches in which you’re struggling to score, he can get you going. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.

  10. I still believe IU will win at least 23 games before the Big Ten tournament. We have Nebraska and Purdue in Bloomington, Illinois and Iowa on the road, and then Maryland at home. None of them will be easy, but there are at least three wins, and maybe four, to be found in the remainder of the regular season.

    I’m not so worried about physical match ups or Yogi having two bad scoring nights in a row, I’m worried about this team developing the mental toughness necessary to avoid the mental errors while playing in hostile arenas. After blowing Michigan out on the road, I thought that issue had been addressed. But yesterday’s performance was troubling.

  11. “Troy Williams should lose his starting job to OG.” Hoosier Hopeful.

    I couldn’t agree more and I’ve been harping on that since Dec. Troy is a net-zero player on his best game; meaning he gives up as many points and possessions as he gains. At best he is long-term neutral, and in various games of perpetual inconsistency, he’s either up or down. In this game he flat out sucked. He simply should be relegated to running the baseline off of screens and back screens while coming out every time he even attempts a 3.

    As I recall in this game here are the stats for both players;
    OG 8 pts., 5 rb, 2 blocks, 1 ast., 0 TOs in 17 min.
    Troy 0 pts., 4 rb, 2 TOs, 0 ast. in 20 min.

    Did Troy’s mom tweet that out?

    Clearly Crean has ulterior motives than winning, and I believe H4H has consistently summed that up; creating NBA players vs. winning ballgames.

  12. Was that a slow, letter high curve just thrown my way? Don’t even make a turn from the outfield for that one, Chet.

    Lottery pick parties…’Going Home’ Dipo parties…the convenient 5-year continuum of ‘Reunion’ parties for every Knight banner team(or even voted Best Hoosiers Now in Depends by the AP)…..Winning? We do plenty of “winning” at our 15 Cupcake Parties! every season….Soon we’ll have a Dipo Returns After Being Tired of Going Home party…to follow the Derek Elston Has a New Tattoo party….and then it’s another one of those ‘I Know the Harbaugh’s Party…followed by a ‘John Harbaugh Tells ESPN I’m the Best Coach in All of College Basketball’ party.. And then we move to Yogi’s All-Time Assist Party …..a Finkelmeier Just Graduated from Dental School Party…..followed by a 10-year Anniversary of the party originally celebrating the Joey Glass Crean Endorsement Letter from Marquette party held at St. Elmo;s Steakhouse in 2008……Shortly after, we’ll have the Chasing Jeff Meyer Anniversary party…..

    Winning? Of course we care about winning. But we must also live up to our “party school” reputation. Banners get lonely….They love all the parties Tom plans for them..

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