The Indiana Hoosiers (14-4) were not only seeking their fourth win in the past five games, but they were also gunning for a third win against ranked opposition when they took on the visiting Michigan State Wolverines (14-4) on January 23.
Mission accomplished. Indiana prevailed, 67-63.
Junior transfer Joey Brunk scored on a left-handed layup with just under a minute left in the second half to give the Hoosiers a 65-62 lead. Spartans senior point guard Cassius Winston split his free throws to trim the deficit to two, 65-63, 14 seconds later.
Spartans junior power forward Xavier Tillman then stole the ball from the Hoosiers’ Rob Phinisee with 15 seconds left in the game. After a timeout, Winston drove to the basket, but Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis went for the block and got a piece of the ball.
Tillman came away with the rebound, but his putback basket rolled out allowing Hoosiers freshman forward Jerome Hunter to secur the rebound with three seconds left. Tillman had no recourse but to foul Hunter, who made two free throws for the final count.
How the Hoosiers Strong First Half Led to Win
Behind a balanced scoring attack, Indiana had a 25-10 lead in the first half. However, Michigan State slowly chipped away at the lead thanks to its perimeter shooting. Freshman guard Rocket Watts’ three-pointer – the Spartans’ ninth of the game – gave MSU a 51-48 lead with 11:11 remaining.
IU freshman recruit Arman Franklin drilled a three of his own to tie things up two-and-a-half minutes later and it was a nip-and-tuck affair the rest of the way.
Brunk led IU with 14 points. Jackson-Davis had 12 points while Al Durham scored 11 points for the Hoosiers.
Winston was the game’s high scorer with 17 while Sophomore forwards Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown chipped in with 12 points and 10 points, respectively, for Michigan State.