Thursday, December 2, 2021

Spartans unable to keep up with Indianas 3-point display

January 9, 2002
Head coach Tom Izzo has some words with freshman guard Chris Hill in the first half of Tuesday’s 83-65 loss to Indiana in Bloomington, Ind. Hill finished with 8 poins, a drop from the 25 he scored against Minnesota on Saturday. —

Bloomington, Ind. - It was the Spartans’ worst nightmare.

A red scare of sorts, as Indiana (10-5 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) bombed No. 25 MSU (9-6, 0-2) from three-point range all night in a 83-65 victory.

“That was probably the most lackluster performance my team has ever played in the six-and-a-half years I’ve been the head coach,” said Tom Izzo, MSU men’s basketball head coach.

Indiana shot a steamy 53.8 percent from long range.

Even more astonishing was the first-half effort of 62.5 percent from beyond the arc, led by Hoosier guard Tom Coverdale.

Coverdale became the game’s poster boy with a perfect first half, hitting all six of his three-point attempts.

“We didn’t want to get him going,” Izzo said. “He hasn’t been shooting the ball well. He just had a great half.”

The Spartans, nevertheless, allowed Coverdale to find his shooting touch, with which he was relentless.

In a stretch from Dec. 18-29, Coverdale missed 17 three-point attempts, most notably against Kentucky, against which the guard went 0-7.

“I put a lot of time in after practice,” said Coverdale, who had a game-high 22 points. “I knew I didn’t want to have a game like Kentucky.”

Indiana head coach Mike Davis was glad to see his guard back in a shooter’s rhythm.

“It was a big, big game (for Coverdale),” Davis said. “He wanted the basketball. He was big for us in the first half.”

The long-range barrage wasn’t only the doing of Coverdale. Clarkston native Dane Fife and forward Jared Jeffries added six more three-pointers to Indiana’s 14 total.

Indiana had the game finished in the first half, compiling a 22-point lead.

“To hold them to 26 points in the first half was unbelievable to me,” Davis said of a game he called Indiana’s best this season.

Izzo credits the way Indiana played on both ends of the floor.

The performance put forth Tuesday was one that called for change in the second half, with walk-on, redshirt-freshman guard Tim Bograkos starting the second half in place of freshman guard Kelvin Torbert.

“I just tried to find the guys that played the hardest,” Izzo said. “We did not guard anybody. Like I said, they hit some shots, so, I take nothing away from Indiana. KT’s got to learn how to play harder.”

Sophomore guard Marcus Taylor returned to the starting lineup to score a team-high 17 points. Shooting-wise, Taylor’s performance could have been better, but the back injury he sustained before the Minnesota game continues to bother him. He used a heating pad before the game.

Junior forward Al Anagonye also scored 17 points.

“It was definitely bothering me, but I realized I had to play through it,” Taylor said. “But as I started playing, it started to loosen up a little more. It was tough playing, like moving around on defense and twisting a lot. I think it had a little effect on me.”

The Spartans return to Breslin Center on Saturday, when they host Wisconsin.

Paul Day can be reached at daypaul@msu.edu.

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