Spartans overpower Hoosiers, 85-57

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Juwan Morgan hobbled out of the Breslin Center on crutches. His teammates left in silence.

For Indiana, it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night at Michigan State.

The 85-57 loss to the No. 9 Spartans developed into a thorough dismantling at the hands of arguably the most talented team in the Big Ten. Perhaps most concerning was the image of Morgan, IU’s best and most consistent player, writhing on the baseline in obvious pain late in the first half.

By virtually any metric, Friday unraveled into the Hoosiers’ worst-case scenario.

It wasn’t altogether different from other recent trips to Breslin Center, where IU (11-8, 4-3 Big Ten) has lost its last four games by an average margin of 18 points. The Hoosiers couldn’t reproduce the defensive performance they authored on Sunday against Northwestern and allowed an early 20-3 Michigan State run to snowball, snapping IU’s winning streak at three games.

Now, Indiana’s focus turns to Monday, and whether or not Morgan will be available for the team’s upcoming home game against Maryland.

IU coach Archie Miller didn’t offer a glimpse into Morgan’s status after Friday’s contest, saying only that Morgan will be re-evaluated once the team returns to Bloomington. The junior forward appeared to land awkwardly after a layup attempt with 2:42 remaining in the first half, crumpling to the court and clutching his left ankle.

He walked off the floor under his own power, but didn’t return to the team bench for the second half.

“We lost some offense, we lost some defense, especially with the big guys they have,” freshman forward Justin Smith said. “We really missed him in there.”

Though, in truth, Friday’s game had already gotten out of hand by the time Morgan left.

The Spartans (17-3, 5-2) beat the Hoosiers in every facet, outrunning them down the floor to create easy baskets off the break. Even in the halfcourt, Michigan State found ways to break down IU’s coverages, outscoring Indiana 38-18 in the paint and winning the rebounding battle, 45-27.

Michigan State’s ability to control the paint also led to trips to the free throw line, where the Spartans went 9-for-13 in the first half.

“We had a hard time,” Miller said. “They handled the post trap, I thought, really well. Our traps maybe were there on time, but our recovery out of them, they burned us. We weren’t really able to control the transition game, or the post. Then, when we add rebounding to the mix, it was a disaster.”

Michigan State’s onslaught snowballed not long after Robert Johnson picked up his second foul early in the second half. Johnson scored eight of IU’s first 10 points, putting the Hoosiers ahead 10-9 with a 3-pointer four minutes into the contest.

But the senior guard was whistled for his second personal approaching the second media timeout, as the Spartans were in the midst of an 18-0 run. With Michigan State’s advantage swelling, Miller was forced to break his two-foul early benching philosophy and reinsert Johnson after five minutes on the sideline.

“We let them get easy inside touches, let them get easy baskets in transition and when you allow them to do that, they’re really good,” said Johnson, who led IU with 21 points and seven rebounds.

Indeed, Michigan State played hungry after stumbling through a recent stretch that featured two losses and an unconvincing overtime win over Rutgers. MSU ran to a 42-23 halftime lead and didn’t let Indiana creep any closer than 17 points in the final 20 minutes.

The Hoosiers arrived in East Lansing with confidence and momentum after stringing together a three-game winning streak built through toughness and poise.

That run ended on Friday at Breslin Center.

Now, the Hoosiers will hope for the best for Morgan, while attempting to keep a bad loss from reopening old wounds amid the toughest stretch of the season.

“It wasn’t our best performance,” Miller said. “We weren’t able to really get any of the phases that we wanted to be solid in defensively taken away. They were able to, over some time, just wear us down.”

7 comments

  1. Indiana wouldn’t have won tonight had the teams switched jerseys before the game. And the +14 line was EASY $. And when Newkirk shoots 12 3s and 17 times overall, you’re pretty much screwed.

    Stating the obvious I’m hoping Juwan isn’t too hurt. Likely a good move to keep him out no matter what, to plant the seed of doubt in Maryland. Besides it’s not like the ball went through him much anyway while he was in there.

  2. My first post was vapid. Sorry.

    Let me make this observation and pose this question: When the “team” has “it’s best player” going to the locker room all alone (as was clearly noted by the excellent FoxSports1 shot of Juwan limping on his own power (no teammates to lean on, no medical staff to lean on), what does that say about your “team”? (to say nothing of the medical care that Chet could only dream of???)

    I hope Juwan is all right, but that appeared to me to be an ‘inside sprain’ and those take some time to heal…it appeared to me that it was a pre-existing condition, but I’m no doctor. Just from his expression, Juwan was through with this game as soon as it happened. He wanted to get to the Locker Room and some relief…and “they” allowed him to make is way there on his own power. Not good on a night that was most definitely “not good”.

  3. I’m not blaming Glass, Miller or Allen. The “problem” has over the years, metastasized. The “problem”? The acceptance and malaise that has become IU football and basketball. I am all too aware of what AM inherited. Next year, I know Romeo may ride in on a white horse and save the day. I also understand that a 10th or 11th place recruiting ranking out of 14 teams is considered a ‘positive’ for the football program. The stark reality is that the football and basketball programs are bottom feeders. Nebraska replaced their football coach 2 weeks ago and have signed more blue chippers in 2 weeks than IU has in 40 years. For whatever the reasons may be, it is no longer acceptable. IU’s basketball current roster might be at a mid-level Div 2. level. If you can’t competitively recruit, nothing will change. As for perspective; I listened to the 1953 championship game with my dad on the radio. I was there when Memorial stadium was dedicated in a 35 to 0 loss to MSU. I marveled at Jimmy Rayl, the Van Arsdales and Walt Bellamy. I watched Marv Woodson play both ways due to a lack of quality depth in the early sixties. Its sad how these programs have not been able to take the necessary steps to maintain in basketball, or improve in football. Sad.

  4. My favorite FoxSports1 shot was when the cameraman was likely scoping around the whole of Breslin and all its rafters searching for banners…and settled for rows of giant jerseys..and numbers for some of those storied Spartans of days gone by….
    And as the Fox broadcasters talked of this Spartan honored in the rafters..and that Spartan honored in the rafters….there was a Juwan disappearing into a tunnel.
    Juwan walks alone without Bryant…without Blackmon…without OG …..His name will likely never hang from a rafter as an individual jersey…He may not be a “next level” guy….He was left on an island on a team all those departed superstars knew would mightily struggle. He walks to the tunnel as a sparkling gem of determination and heart. He is undaunted and no limelight or lens can capture the loyalty and love that nourishes a team game through a ‘me world.’
    And then I thought of Assembly Hall…and where the cameras quickly point….They point to five banners ….Within those five banners is the heart and courage of Juwan walking into the past through a tunnel on a night where he is overwhelmed of any individual spotlight. It’s why we have 5 rather special pieces of cloth in Assembly…and why the dizzy cameraman at Breslin has to find jersey numbers.

    The Hoosiers may have been outnumbered tonight, but they were not outmanned. And Izzo leaving Bridges and Ward in a blowout until just 3 minutes remaining was a cowardly deed. You usually come up short at Final Fours, Mr. Izzo…and you came up short on character tonight.

  5. Since the late 90’s IU has been on a donward slide. Programs like Michigan State, Ohio State, Illinois, and Wisconsin became the better programs. Coaches have made the difference. Illinois was the first to trail off when Bill Self departed. Now Wisconsin is felling the reality post Bo Ryan. Ohio state thrived under Matta and even after his departure he obviously left a capable squad. Holtman was a solid hire and will probably keep Ohio State competitive consistently. Tom Izzo changed guard for Jud and MSU in 1995 and has yet to leave, quit, or be fired and he has turned MSU into the best program in the big ten since his hiring. Knight quit recruiting long before his firing in 2000 and that has been the beginning of IU’s downward slide.

    Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State have thrived the way IU used too recruiting the state of Indiana. If you can’t recruit the state of Indiana, then the IU job is not a good job. Oden, Conley Jr, Robinson Jr, Robinson Sr, Hummel, Johnson, Randolph, Harris, Jaren Jackson, Deshaun Tomas, E’Twaun Moore, McGary, Irvin among many others have sustained success at other programs for decades now. Not including non conference programs like UNC, Duke, Louisville, etc. There is enough talent in this state to win national championships every 5 years or less. Purdues best years always come when Indiana doesn’t recruit the state well.

    I sincerely hope we have hired the right man for this job. I really like coach Miller. I know his best days are ahead of him. I hope he can develop Phinisee and Anderson and prove he can make the best of instate talent. It’s going to be a tough road to hoe.

  6. very interesting audio segment, especially the comments regarding Colin Hartmann. I was one who noticed that the Spartans went 14-0 after Colin was put in the game…..

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