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(Wednesday, December 28th)
Final Score: (16) Michigan State 80, (13) Indiana 65
East Lansing, MI (Sports Network) - Nothing rattled unbeaten Indiana over the first two months of the season.
Then it ran into Michigan State's pressure defense and the imposing presence of the Breslin Center.
Keith Appling scored a career-high 25 points and Derrick Nix chipped in 14 off the bench, as No. 16 Michigan State held Indiana scoreless for six-plus minutes down the stretch in an 80-65 victory over the 13th-ranked Hoosiers.
Brandon Wood scored 13 points and Draymond Green donated 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Spartans (12-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who have won 12 straight since a November 15th loss to Duke.
Christian Watford led Indiana (12-1, 0-1) with 26 points and Verdell Jones III posted 11. The Hoosiers must rebound quickly for their conference home opener on Saturday versus second-ranked Ohio State.
"It was a lot of tough lessons inside a very tough atmosphere against a very good team," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean.
Michigan State controlled the tempo and found the bottom of the net more often than not in the first 13-plus minutes. The Spartans made 12 of their first 19 shots and sprinted out to a double-digit lead behind three-point shooting and tenacious defense.
After tying the game at four, the Hoosiers allowed seven straight points capped by Nix's layup off an offensive rebound, and the home team's lead grew to 19-8 on Appling's jumper.
Later, Michigan State hit a trio of three-pointers to take a substantial advantage. Wood drained one from the left wing, Green squared up and buried a straight-on three and then the veteran connected on another for a 31-14 game.
"That was a heck of a start," said Spartans head coach Tom Izzo. "I felt like for us, we played awfully well early."
The margin grew to 34-16, but Indiana reined it in and turned to its bread and butter to avoid getting blown out over the first 20 minutes. Three straight threes -- the first two by Matt Roth and the final one from Watford -- trimmed the deficit to 34-25. A layup by Watford postmarked a 13-0 stretch that drew the visitors within 34-29 just before the half.
Michigan State held a 36-29 halftime lead behind 11 points from Wood, while Watford paced the Hoosiers with 11 points of his own.
Indiana finally took its first lead of the game at the 16:03 mark of the second half when Cody Zeller followed his own shot with a right-handed tip-in. His fastbreak slam made it 39-36, but those were his only two field goals in an otherwise frustratingly quiet night.
Watford's three-pointer nearing the midway point of the half gave the Hoosiers a 54-45 lead, but in a game of runs, the momentum swung back to the Spartans, who fed off a raucous Izz-one to regain their footing.
Michigan State ran off 20 straight points -- a blitz that included several run-out lay-ins and defensive possessions that forced Indiana into three-point prayers at the end of the shot clock. Wood leaked ahead off a bad shot and converted a slam in transition to open a 59-54 lead. Off a timeout, Adreian Payne handled a lob and converted a contested dunk then Branden Dawson made two foul shots for a nine-point game.
The margin grew to 11 before Watford connection on a mid-range bucket, bringing a six-minute-plus scoring drought to an end.
By that time it was too little, too late.
The Hoosiers, who average 20 made foul shots on the season, finished with just five made attempts...Victor Oladipo scored 10 points and grabbed six boards in the win...Payne scored eight for the victors...Michigan State has won a series-record six straight battles with Indiana...The Spartans' 12-game streak is its longest since the 2000-2001 season...The Hoosiers made just 42 percent of their shots, and outside Watford and Roth, missed all six of their three- point attempts.
12/28 23:55:51 ET
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