Oladipo Leads No. 1 Indiana to Big Win
Charles E. Sutton | 2/20/2013, 8:49 p.m.
In spite of nursing a sprained left ankle, Victor Oladipo had an outstanding performance which led top-ranked Indiana to a 72-68 victory over No. 4 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Oladipo's dunk, putback and foul shots in the final minute gave him 19 points in addition to nine boards, five steals and a blocked shot. Quite impressive for a player who didn't participate after halftime of his last game, just three days earlier, due to the injury. Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean indicated that the junior shooting guard wasn't 100 percent.
With four games left in the regular season, Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference and moved a step closer toward capturing a top seed next month in the NCAA tournament. The Hoosiers snapped a 17-game road losing streak against the Spartans.
Michigan State let opportunities slip away at the free throw line.
Down by three with 3.7 seconds left, Gary Harris was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He missed the first foul shot, and after making the second, he purposely missed the third. Oladipo grabbed the rebound, and he converted two free throws to close out the win. Keith Appling had missed the front end of a one and one with just over a minute remaining.
Cody Zeller scored 17 points, while Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls had 12 each for the Hoosiers.
Harris, last year's Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana, missed a contested layup with 16 seconds remaining and finished with 19 points. Adreian Payne had 17 points and the rest of their squad struggled on offense. Appling, the Spartans' leading scorer, had a disappointing night, scoring only six points on 1-of-8 shooting.
Derrick Nix put Michigan State ahead 64-63 with 3:08 left and scored again in the low post on the Spartans' next possession. Harris made one of two foul shots with 1:38 left to give Michigan State a game-high, four-point lead. However, the lead was short-lived.
On the ensuing possession, Watford responded with a three-point play to bring Indiana within a point and Oladipo took over from there.
The Spartans had won five consecutive and 11 of 12 with its only loss during that span at Indiana. In last month's five-point loss at Indiana, Oladipo had 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocked shots.