MSU's Kenny Goins, Cassius Winston on loss to Indiana The Detroit News
East Lansing — Michigan State wasn’t itself on Saturday, at least in two very specific ways.
The Spartans entered its matchup at home with Indiana as the second-best in the Big Ten in rebounding margin and shooting 77.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Both of those categories got flipped on No. 6 Michigan State as Indiana pulled off a 79-75 upset in overtime, ending its won seven-game skid and handing the Spartans their second straight loss, the first time they’ve dropped back-to-back games since the end of the 2016-17 season.
The Hoosiers pulled it off by outrebounding the Spartans, 48-40, while grabbing 20 offensive rebounds. Michigan State also hurt itself by making just 8 of 22 free throws, good for 36.4 percent, by far its worst performance of the season.
MSU coach Tom Izzo on the loss to Indiana The Detroit News
“We're shooting 77 percent and we really shot about 30 percent today (from the free-throw line),” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “We missed three front ends of the one-and-ones, so we were really 8-of-25. But maybe the most disappointing thing was our rebounding. We've not been rebounding the ball very well as far as defensively. Another team gets 20 offensive boards against us. The effort of that, I just don't have enough bodies to keep putting people in, because I'd be pulling some people.”
Entering Saturday’s game, Michigan State had only been outrebounded twice all season. But the second time came in Sunday’s loss at Purdue, which makes two straight the Spartans have come up short on the glass.
“It's totally an effort thing, and we don't work on it,” Izzo said. “We play wimp ball now. We're so afraid of the injuries and everything. There's no excuse for anybody but me. I said Thursday that we didn't have a very good practice, not practicing very physical. That falls on me, that'll change.”
Kenny Goins, who ranks fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding, grabbed eight along with guard Cassius Winston while Xavier Tillman had seven and Nick Ward six.
But it was the 20 offensive rebounds that had the Spartans frustrated.
“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Goins said. “It has to do with defensive breakdowns and then it’s hard to get back in and rebound. It seemed like they got us to scramble and once we scramble we were out of position for rebounds and then they just cleaned it all up.”
Almost as ugly as the rebounding was the free-throw shooting.
The Spartans entered the game as one of the best in the conference but missed their only two attempts in the first half, were 6-for-16 in the second half then 2-for-4 in overtime.
Ward was 1-for-9, all of his coming in the second half after entering the game shooting 68.2 percent.
“We addressed it all year,” Izzo said. “We shot free throws at night, shot free throws early in the morning. We're shooting 77 percent. Sometimes when it rains, it pours. We make any free throws early or we don't give up 13 offensive rebounds in the first half and we're up maybe 10.
“We got what we deserved. Free-throw shooting can't say we deserved that. The effort related rebounding, I think we deserved that.”
Izzo was disappointed the Spartans didn’t play well with ESPN’s College GameDay at the Breslin Center on Saturday morning.
It was the fifth time the show has been held in East Lansing.
“You can write all the negative things you want because I deserve it, but make sure you realize GameDay came here, they only go to eight places a year, and our fans and our marketing department did an unbelievable job,” Izzo said. “It was a great event, and the fans took it right to the 6 o’clock game and the only people that didn't take it there was us. Everybody else did their job, we didn't do ours.”
Goins tied the school record of eight blocks in one game, joining Jaren Jackson Jr., who had eight blocks on Dec. 5, 2017, at Rutgers, and Ken Johnson, who swatted eight shots on Dec. 29, 1984, against San Diego State.
Michigan State blocked 14 shots in the game, the second-most in a single game and the most ever against a Big Ten opponent, breaking the previous mark of 13 set against Indiana on Feb. 3, 2018.
… Michigan State is 0-2 in overtime this season (at Louisville).
… This was the first time MSU shot below 50 percent from the free-throw line since Feb. 20, 2017 at Purdue, when the team connected on 40.0 percent (4-of-10).