Dominance was put on display in East Lansing, Michigan, Friday night, and all of it was exemplified in one dunk that was thrown down by Michigan State sophomore forward Miles Bridges.
With more than enough space on the baseline, Bridges soared above the rest, and put the nail in the coffin on the Hoosiers’ night with 5:47 still left in the game.
The Hoosier loss was an embarrassing one, but they had already lost in another facet earlier in the night when junior forward Juwan Morgan went down with an ankle injury, which would sideline him for the rest of the game and maybe the near future.
The score was already 40-17 in favor of Michigan State at that point, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did.
It was a worst-case scenario for IU, and all of a sudden, in a hostile environment, the Hoosiers were without their best and most consistent player.
They’ve looked good in the games that followed the sophomore forward De’Ron Davis injury, but Morgan’s is so much more significant for this team. Morgan was a source of consistency on not only the offensive end, with six double-doubles this season, but on the defensive end as well.
He had been a big presence in the paint and the player who could spark a big run at any given moment. In one of the biggest games of the season, hope suddenly disappeared with Morgan’s injury and was swallowed by Bridges’ dunks.
Coming to Michigan State riding a three-game win streak, this was IU’s chance to prove that they could play a complete game against elite competition. Instead, it felt like they took two steps backwards and it was one of the worst losses of the season.
It was a day and night difference between IU’s performance as of late and the excuse of a performance they decided to drag along with them from Bloomington.
Instead of rising to the challenge of making it a respectable game coming out of a 42-23 deficit, IU fell flat, and once again, looked as if they had no motivation to stay on the same floor as the Spartans.
Senior guard Robert Johnson tried his best to pull the Hoosiers out of the wreckage that they had gotten themselves into, but he had no help whatsoever outside of a few threes that managed to fall for senior guard Josh Newkirk.
Hartman never got going behind the arc, where four of his five total shots came from, Devonte Green failed to make an impact off of the bench, and the rest of the squad didn’t deserve to be in the same arena as the No. 9 team in the country.
Sparty showed what it is like to be in the top tier of the nation and the Big Ten, and gave IU a taste of something they will never get to experience on their own this season. Michigan State also showed how big of a divide there is between the top of the Big Ten and IU, who came into the matchup tied for fourth place in the conference.
The Hoosiers are in the worst position they have ever been in this season. It’s worse than the week that followed the Indiana State loss and it’s worse than the games that followed the Fort Wayne performance.
It feels different and the future looks cloudy. It’s bad enough to lose the actual game, but it’s even worse to lose the best player on the roster in the same night.
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