No. 1 Indiana stays on top
AP Sports Writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Victor Oladipo’s go-ahead putback, dunk and free throws in the final minute lifted top-ranked Indiana to a 72-68 win over No. 4 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference and moved a step closer toward earning top seeding next month in the NCAA tournament. The Hoosiers had lost 17 straight – since 1991 – on the road against the Spartans.
Michigan State blew opportunities at the line.
Trailing by three with 3.7 seconds left, Gary Harris was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He missed the first one and then after making the second, missed the third on purpose. Indiana got the rebound – Oladipo got to it, of course – and he hit two free throws to seal the win.
Keith Appling had missed the front end of a one and one with a little more than a minute left.
Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) had won five straight and 11 of 12 with its only loss during the stretch at Indiana.
Oladipo, who sprained his left ankle in his last game, had 19 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Cody Zeller had 17 points – nearly doubling what he had in the previous matchup against Michigan State – while Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford scored 12 each for the Hoosiers.
Harris had 19 points, Adreian Payne scored 17 and the rest of their teammates struggled offensively.
Appling, Michigan State’s leading scorer, was held to six points on 1-of-8 shooting, Branden Dawson scored eight and Derrick Nix had eight points and some of his contributions offensively late in the game looked like they were going to help the school win its second game in the regular season against a No. 1 team.
Nix made a go-ahead shot – after grabbing rebounds off two of his misses – to put Michigan State ahead 64-63 lead with 3:08 left and scored again in the post on its next possession.
Harris made one of two free throws with 1:38 remaining to give the Spartans a game-high, four-point lead.
Watford responded with a three-point play on the ensuing possession to pull Indiana within a point and Oladipo did the rest.
The game marked the first time two top-five teams have met at the Breslin Center.
It was the third matchup of top-four teams in college basketball this season, and the second for Indiana, which beat then top-ranked Michigan It’s just the fourth with a pair of Big Ten teams since 1997.
The highly anticipated and hyped game lived up to the billing with end-to-end action, scrambles for loose balls, 3-point shots, blocks in the lane and plenty of physical play.
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