Michigan State (22-3 overall, 10-2 Big Ten) men’s basketball staved off a late run from Indiana (12-12, 5-7) for a 63-60 road win on Saturday, giving the Spartans their sixth straight win.
The Spartans knocked down 9 of 18 3-pointers in the game, led by 4 from Matt McQuaid for a team-high 12 points. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Josh Langford also finished in double figures with 10 points apiece. Cassius Winston had 7 points and 7 assists while finishing without a turnover.
WHY: Defense, but not defensive rebounding. Michigan State continued to do what it does, contesting every shot around the rim and blocking a good percentage of them. Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward led the charge to spike as many Indiana shots downward as possible. The Spartans finished with 13 blocks, 9 of which came in the first half. Indiana missed 20 of its first 22 shots and fell just short trying to recover.
WHAT IT MEANS: Michigan State just doesn’t help itself. Massive disparities in shooting seem to follow the Spartans wherever they go, but they don’t take advantage. In this contest, they finished with a 58.5 effective field goal percentage while Indiana’s was 31.8 percent. That seems like a recipe for a trouncing, but the Hoosiers rebounded 25 of their missed shots. Whether it’s through poor defensive rebounding or copious turnovers, MSU continues to let opponents stick around when they shouldn’t.
WHO STARRED: Jaren Jackson Jr. When he was in the game, Indiana couldn’t get any easy looks. He was always around the basket as a safety net for any teammates who got beaten off the dribble. He finished with 7 blocks. And on the other end, he showed his improved handles, taking smaller players off the dribble and finishing strong at the rim.
"He just dunked on the entire state of Indiana."
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) February 4, 2018
Matt McQuaid deserves mention as well. He brought energy off the bench and hit a trio of early 3-pointers, and then knocked down another long bomb with just over a minute to go to extend Michigan State’s lead to 4.
WHO STUMBLED: Miles Bridges. He should be applauded for his 8 rebounds, as he put in far more effort than any of his teammates on the defensive glass. But on offense, Bridges struggled to create his own shot and get to the rim. He finished with 7 points on 7 field goal attempts and only shot a single free throw, which he missed.
WHO WAS THERE: Dan Dakich. The former Indiana coach provided commentary for ESPN’s broadcast six days after provoking the ire of fans by tweeting that Bridges “has no game.” He doubled down on the sentiment, arguing that Bridges is a shooter and not much else.
WHO IS NEXT: Michigan State faces Iowa on the road Tuesday. Tipoff is schedule for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. It will be the only regular season meeting between the Spartans and Hawkeyes this season.
There's your final. pic.twitter.com/8upVyqqyi0
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 4, 2018