Indiana snaps 17-game losing streak at Michigan State
Top-ranked Indiana ended a decades-old losing streak in East Lansing Tuesday night.
Victor Oladipo led the Hoosiers (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) with 19 points and Cody Zeller added 17 in the 72-68 win over Michigan State, Indiana's first win at the Breslin Center since 1991. The losing streak covered 17 games.
"When you play in games like this, it's not just about how tough you are, but about how smart you are, how smart you play. I thought our guys did an excellent job of that tonight, I thought Tom's (Michigan State coach Izzo) guys did and that's why it was such a great game," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean.
Hamilton Southeastern grad Gary Harris scored 19 points for the Spartans, but missed a key free throw in the closing seconds. After he was fouled shooting a potential game-tying three-pointer with 3.7 seconds remaining, Harris missed the first free throw. After making the second toss, he appeared to miss the third on purpose, but Oladipo grabbed the rebound and sealed the win with a pair of free throws at the other end.
Oladipo scored the last six points for Indiana, including the go-ahead tip-in with 47 seconds left and a breakaway dunk to help the Hoosiers pull away. Before the game, the junior was questionable to play after he injured his ankle last Saturday against Purdue.
"People asked, 'Is Victor 100 percent?' and there was no way of knowing. Victor Oladipo wasn't close to 100 percent tonight. He wasn't close," Crean said.
"85, 90, but plus the adrenaline and the fans, 100 percent," Oladipo said.
He said there was never a question that he was going to play against the Spartans.
"There was no question. Maybe from everybody else and maybe from coaching, but you'd have to kill me in order for me to miss this game," Oladipo said.
"That's what big players do. It's been so many different guys throughout the season that have stepped up in big times and tonight it was Victor. That's what makes us such a tough team to beat, just because we have so many weapons that can hurt you, especially down the stretch," said Zeller.
With the win, Indiana took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
"This program has been through its ups and downs, man. I was here when it was at the lowest of its lows, you know, and we've come such a long way, we just have to stay consistent and stay focused," Oladipo said.
Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) had won five straight and 11 of 12 with its only loss during the stretch at Indiana.