Gary Harris scored a career-high 26 points to lead the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (13-1, 2-0 Big Ten) past the Indiana Hoosiers (10-5, 0-2), 73-56.
It was a big road win for the Spartans, who showed what they were capable of when healthy on Saturday after numerous injuries forced them to struggle a bit in the non-conference part of the season.
In the early going of the game, the story of the first half, without a doubt, had to be Harris. With back court mate Keith Appling watching the game from the bench after picking up an early second foul in the first half, Harris, playing in his home state, picked up the slack for the Spartans, finishing the half with 17 points to help MSU to a 33-24 advantage at the break.
In the second half, it appeared Michigan State was beginning to pull away a bit. However, after junior Branden Dawson connected on a fast break lay up to give Michigan State a 15 point lead, 40-25, with 17:41 to go, Indiana went on a quick 7-0 run to close the Michigan State lead to eight, 40-32.
It was as close as the Hoosiers would be for the rest of the afternoon.
After being held scoreless and sitting much of the first due to foul trouble, Appling came alive in the second half for Michigan State, finishing the game with 14 points, including a stretch of scoring 11 straight late in the game, that solidified victory for the Spartans over the Hoosiers.
Dawson added 13 points and 6 rebounds for the Spartans while star Michigan State big man Adreian Payne was held to just 4 points and 5 rebounds.
Indiana sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell finished with 17 points while Will Sheehey and Stanford Robinson added 13 points and 11 points respectively, but it wasn’t enough to hang with the Spartans, who pulled away in the end and took the game, 73-56.
Up next for the MSU basketball team…well, it’s a big one.
On Tuesday, the Spartans will welcome the No. 3 undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes into the Breslin Center in a match up of top five teams. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 PM ET and will be televised on ESPN.
Temperatures in East Lansing for the day of the game are expected to be a high of 5 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 0.
Now, normally that wouldn’t matter for an indoor basketball game…
…But for Michigan State students who are members of the school’s basketball student section known as the “Izzone,” it matters.
They’ve been known to wait outside the Breslin Center for hours for good seats in previous seasons and they even camp out all night on a field for the good seats at the beginning of every season. Expect to hear of more tales come Tuesday of students at Michigan State waiting outside the Breslin for hours in the frigid temperatures.