Hoosier Rally Falls Just Short Against No. 8 Spartans
March 3, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--Michigan State's Raymar Morgan had a crucial rebound dunk with 27.5 seconds left, to lead No. 8 Michigan State past Indiana 64-59 Tuesday. The game marked the final home game for Indiana this season and the final time that senior Kyle Taber would wear the Cream and Crimson in front of the home fans.
"It was a great game," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "Our guys were in it the entire way, to the very end."
Much like last Saturday at Penn State, the Hoosiers would go toe-to-toe with a heavily favored opponent. Michigan State would build a 16-11 lead with 14:33 left in the first half, but the Hoosiers would narrow it to 16-15 on layups by freshmen Malik Story and Verdell Jones III.
The Spartans would lead by no more than two trips down the court until Kalin Lucas hit a three-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to give the Spartans a 34-27 advantage at halftime.
"We are starting to play our best basketball in the sense because that mindset is so right," said Crean. "We played an excellent team tonight. We knew that. We knew we were going to have to be close to flawless to compete with them. And at the same time we were going to have to keep them off balance the best we could."
Indiana would start the second half on a 5-0 run after a triple by Jones and a layup by freshman Nick Williams made it 34-32. After MSU got the lead up to eight points, freshman Matt Roth would hit a three-pointer and then a layup off a steal by Jones to make it 41-38 with 15:30 to go.
Michigan State would go on a 15-5 run to make it 56-45, but the Hoosiers were not done fighting. Indiana would go on a 13-2 run and cut the deficit to 58-56 with 5:16 to go after Williams drained a three and got the 15,006 fans on their feet thinking upset.
"They could have packed it in at the 13-point deficit, which could have happened in previous weeks, but hey didn't do that," added Crean. "That is a sign of maturity and our goal as we go through this is to keep playing better basketball, keep building a better mindset, and keep building that belief that we can win now and we can win in the future."
That proved to be the last field goal Indiana would score. Trailing 59-57 in the final minute, Indiana played strong defense and got the Spartans Durrell Summers to to miss a three-pointer in the corner, but Morgan reached high after not being blocked out and slammed home the back breaker with 27 seconds to go. The Hoosiers would cut the lead to 61-59 on a pair of Williams free throws with 16 seconds left.
Lucas would hit a pair of free throws for Michigan State to up the lead to 63-59 and Morgan would add a free throw with three seconds left for the final advantage.
Jones would lead Indiana with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Story and Williams each had 11 points and Roth would score 10.
In his final game at IU, Taber had three points, five rebounds and two assists.
"This is unbelievable," said Taber. "We're 6-23 now, and we're playing in front of a packed house. This doesn't happen at any other place in the country. I'm proud to be a part of it."
The Hoosiers will end the regular season at 7 p.m., Sunday at Wisconsin.
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