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Hoosiers Don’t Make Enough “Winning Plays” to Beat Spartans

Unfortunately for Indiana, rebounding doesn’t win basketball games.

If it did, IU would have won going away. The Hoosiers grabbed 53 rebounds to Michigan State’s 29. They were also plus-22 on the offensive glass. However, when you shoot 29 percent from the floor, it makes it tough to win any sort of basketball game.

Indiana hung around for most of the night, but didn’t make enough “winning plays” to beat Michigan State. The Spartans pulled out a 63-60 win Saturday night at Assembly Hall.

“In East Lansing they punked us,” junior Juwan Morgan said. “We came to this mindset, I know me, Freddie, Collin and Justin, we talked amongst each other and we were, like, this can’t happen. Like, the guards are going to have to do what they have to do, get their 12 boards amongst them, but we need at least one or two of us to go get 10. And that’s what we did.”

The Hoosiers seemingly had no business rebounding like they did against the Spartans. Michigan State came into Saturday’s game with the best rebounding margin in the country. On the floor, that didn’t seem like the case.

Granted, the Hoosiers shot so poorly that were going to be a lot of rebounds. Still, the Hoosiers were there to grab them.

“It’s hard for me to stomach that ball bouncing around the floor and us not getting any,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Senior forward Freddie McSwain dominated the glass for Indiana. He pulled down 16 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass. The senior earned his second career start and first of the season. McSwain has played good minutes this season against good frontcourts. That continued Saturday.

“I just wanted to really, just going out every day and just playing my hardest,” McSwain said. “Every time opportunity is called, start or coming off the bench, I say just come in help the team do whatever to help the team win, really.”

Zach McRoberts, Justin Smith and McSwain all dove on the floor for loose balls. Their ‘will to win’ was evident. Izzo was very complimentary when talking postgame about Indiana’s effort.

The Spartans only had three offensive rebounds. He said his team wasn’t the tougher team and that there was only one team fighting. That team was Indiana.

“Very seldom does one of our teams get out-worked or out-hustled the way Indiana did it,” Izzo said. “The 25-3 difference on offensive rebounds is an insult to me, my players, and anybody who’s ever played here. I was very disappointed in that.”

There is a fairly good argument that Indiana outplayed Michigan State in every category aside from scoring. Now obviously that’s the only stat that matters at the end of the day.

But in the end, they still couldn’t hit the shots they needed. Indiana coach Archie Miller has mentioned “winning plays” in the past. Once again, the Hoosiers didn’t make enough.

“But credit out guys, I thought they really fought hard and played hard,” Miller said. “We’re getting, especially against some really good teams right now, you know, the last two to three minutes just having to find away to make a couple of plays. And I think that’s what teams who know how to win do.”

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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