Indiana basketball continued to redeem themselves Saturday in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall as they completed a season sweep against No. 6 Michigan State 63-62. Although the team did not play their best, they managed to unite and fight through adversity. This victory marks Indiana’s first sweep on the Spartans since the 2012-13 season and puts the team above .500. There are only two games left in the regular season for the Hoosiers, and they must win both to keep a chance of making a postseason appearance alive.
Forward, Justin Smith took charge for the team helping Indiana stay within reach of the Spartans. The sophomore scored a career-high 24 points, outperforming Michigan State star Cassius Winston. In the first half, Winston secured nine points and seven assists resulting in a 35-28 lead for the Spartans at halftime, but Smith would not let that stop him. The 20-year-old continued to play with poise helping Rob Phinisee find himself defensively, thereby putting a stop to Winston’s second-half heroics.
Despite the performance from Smith, Indiana standouts Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan did not have a strong showing. Together they went 6-for-22 from the field, which is the first time this season both Langford and Morgan went without scoring double digits. To make up for the lack of production, Devonte Green stepped up having one of his best conference games on the year. Green racked up 13 points in just 25 minutes during Saturday’s contest, which was the type of performance the Hoosiers need in a tough matchup against the Spartans.
The Indiana defense was a crucial factor in their win, as the team forced Michigan State to commit 14 turnovers. Indiana did not stop there as they were also able to force 10 steals and hold the Spartans scoreless in the last four minutes and 15 seconds of the game. This type of defense is what helps create offense for the Hoosiers, and they must continue with this momentum as the end of the regular season approaches.
Indiana basketball experienced many ups and downs this season. The team won just one game in a 13-game stretch, and many assumed that their chance of making an appearance in March was impossible. Surprisingly that may not be the case considering the Hoosiers also have wins over Marquette, Louisville and Wisconsin. If the team can finish their season strong, there might be a chance that their name comes up on Selection Sunday. Be sure to tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET as the Hoosiers take on Illinois.