Indiana’s seven-game losing streak has finally come to a close.
The Hoosiers came into Saturday night’s game at Michigan State with just one win in their last 22 games at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. With improved 3-point shooting, a stellar defensive performance and depth players playing a big role, Indiana won for the first time since January 3 against Illinois.
Led by Romeo Langford’s 19 points, the Hoosiers earned a 79-75 overtime win over the No. 6 Michigan State Spartans.
Now, three takeaways from the win.
Of all of the things that Indiana has struggled with during the seven-game losing streak, 3-point shooting may have been at the top of the list. But Saturday night in East Lansing, the Hoosiers found something they haven’t had in a month and knocked down 10-of-20 3-pointers, tied for their most threes in a game this season.
This won't get old for a while. ?
Check out all the highlights from @IndianaMBB's massive road upset of Michigan State. pic.twitter.com/1zunEXpGig
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) February 3, 2019
Evan Fitzner hit a shot from behind the arc for the first time since December 19, Devonte Green and Al Durham both hit three 3’s and Romeo Langford, who led with 19 points, hit two 3’s. It was a complete team effort and somehow they were able to flip the script. During the seven-game losing streak, the Hoosiers shot 31-of-129 (24 percent).
IU coach Archie Miller has maintained his stance that at some point, shots would start to fall. That some point was Saturday night. Now we’ll see if it’s a one-night thing or if the Hoosiers can come to rely on the 3-point shot again.
Depth stepping up
With 6:04 left in the first half, Juwan Morgan dove on the floor for a loose ball, got his arm caught in a tangle with Kyle Ahrens and hurt his left shoulder. That is the same shoulder Morgan had issues with in 2016 and had surgery on that same year. Miller didn't have any update postgame.
But with Morgan out of the lineup Saturday night, the Miller used his depth to his advantage. Jake Forrester played a season high nine minutes; De’Ron Davis played a season high 25 minutes, while Fitzner and Damezi Anderson also contributed a few minutes off the bench.
De’Ron Davis postgame at Michigan State https://t.co/k5eiR3erIf
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 3, 2019
However, it was the return of both Green and Davis that helped Indiana in a big way Saturday. Davis played big minutes in the frontcourt and had a difficult matchup with Nick Ward in the post. In his first game since January 19 at Purdue, Davis scored 12 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists.
For Green, the addition of another guard who could handle the ball proved to be key. Rob Phinisee ended up fouling out and if not for Green, the Hoosiers would have been in a tough predicament. But with Green on the floor, he was able to run the offense while contributing 11 points, five assists and five rebounds.
The defensive effort shown by Indiana on Saturday night was nothing short of impressive. While the Hoosiers were aided by Michigan State shooting 8-of-22 from the free throw line. IU was making it uncomfortable for the Spartans to get into their offense and the help defense was as good as it’s been in a while. Much of that can be attributed to what the pack-line defense is able to do.
A MASSIVE block by @justinsmith3_ to preserve the @IndianaMBB lead. pic.twitter.com/YdiRX3ebMt
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 3, 2019
Smith's block also proved to be a massive play in the game too. There were many segments throughout the game where the Hoosiers were stellar on defense, but for over six minutes in the first half, Indiana held Michigan State to just two points. That allowed Indiana to stay in the game from the start and that was important because of how poor the Hoosiers have started games lately.