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MSU overtakes Indiana in 'strange' game

February 7, 2009

MSU sophomore guard Kalin Lucas is fouled on a lay-up by Indiana guard  Malik Story. Lucas finished the night with 10 points in the team’s 75-47 victory over Indiana on Saturday at Breslin Center.

Photo by Josh Radtke | The State News

Never has a 28-point win looked so ugly.

Playing against Indiana, the worst team in the Big Ten, the No. 13 MSU men’s basketball team shot 42.4 percent from the field, 67.9 percent from the free-throw line and 28.6 percent from 3-point range — typical ingredients for disaster.

But Saturday against the hapless Hoosiers, it proved to be more than enough, as MSU (19-4 overall, 9-2 Big Ten) turned on the motor late to accelerate past Indiana, 75-47, at Breslin Center.

“I thought it was a very strange basketball game,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said. “I don’t know that I have ever seen us miss that many shots, and the two guys that missed the most, Durrell (Summers) and Kalin (Lucas), shot the ball really well last night and this morning. If we would have hit some shots, we would have given them some problems, but we didn’t.”

Summers (two points) and Lucas (10 points) combined to shot 5-of-26 from the field, including 0-of-11 from 3-point range, but their struggles were negated by a strong effort from MSU’s bench.

No reserve was more effective than Draymond Green, who played the best game of his young career. The freshman had 15 points and 12 rebounds — both career-highs — and infused life into a team that appeared to be sleepwalking.

“We didn’t have a lot of energy coming out,” said Green, who didn’t miss a single shot. “It’s not that we underestimated them, that’s just sometimes how it is. Coach always tell us that guys who come off the bench have to bring energy, so that’s what I tried to do.”

Chris Allen also played a big role off MSU’s bench, scoring a game-high 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Goran Suton (5-of-6 from the field) led MSU starters with 12 points, while Delvon Roe added nine.

“Our team is very deep,” Summers said. “On any given night, a different guy can go off for a big (game), that’s just how deep we are. Guys are always ready to step up and play.”

Despite the sizable margin of victory, the Spartans found themselves pitted in a dogfight with the Hoosiers for much of the game.

Trailing by seven at the end of the first half, Indiana — which hadn’t won a single conference game until Wednesday against Iowa — silenced the crowd when it hit consecutive baskets to creep within three early in the second half.

But that’s as close as Indiana (6-16, 1-9) would come, as MSU never surrendered the lead and closed the game on a 42-17 tear.

With the win, MSU extended its Big Ten lead to 2.5 games over idle Purdue, and finished its three-game homestand with a 2-1 record.

Verdell Jones III scored 13 points and Matt Roth tallied 10 off the bench to pace the Hoosiers, who shot a dismal 31 percent for the game and committed 21 turnovers to spoil head coach Tom Crean’s return to Breslin Center.

Crean was one of Izzo’s assistants at MSU between 1995-99, before he accepted Marquette’s head coaching position. This is his first year with Indiana.

“They are an outstanding team,” Crean said. “I’m not surprised because they’ve been the standard bearer in this league for some time and our players saw it first hand.”

Indiana came up empty on each of its first seven possessions, but MSU wasn’t much better on the offensive end, starting 3-of-15 from the field until Izzo went to the bench.

Led by Green, who had eight points and six rebounds in nine minutes of action, MSU extended its lead to seven midway through the half.

But despite the absence of leading scorer Devan Dumes, who left the game eight minutes into the half after collecting his third foul, Indiana didn’t let MSU extend its lead to double-digits the entire opening period, and trailed just 34-27 at halftime.

MSU will rest for a couple days before it hits the road to take on Michigan at Crisler Arena . Tip-off from Ann Arbor is slated for 7 p.m.

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