Despite a career-high 34 points from sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, the IU men’s basketball team blew multiple double digit leads in its 78-71 loss to Michigan State.
IU got off to a fast and aggressive start, forcing seven turnovers in the first six minutes. The Hoosiers turned defensive stops into points, leading by as much as 13 points at the 11:15 mark.
IU hustled on the floor for loose balls, marked by senior guard Al Durham who dove into Michigan State’s bench to save a ball, knocking down head coach Tom Izzo.
“I thought we started the game really, really good defensively and got good offense in the first half,” IU head coach Archie Miller said.
But soon enough, Michigan State got hot. The Spartans made six of their eight-straight field goal attempts to cut the Hoosiers’ lead to just 2 points with three minutes left in the first half. During that time, IU made just two of its 12 field goal attempts.
The Spartans went on a 20-7 run to tie up the game at 26 with almost three minutes left in the half. The Hoosiers maintained their lead and went into halftime up 30-26.
The Hoosiers opened the second half with the same energy they started the game with. IU scored 6 unanswered points over a minute and a half to extend its lead at 38-29.
The Michigan State defense struggled to contain junior forward Race Thompson and Jackson-Davis in the post, allowing the two forwards to muscle their way to the basket. Thompson and Jackson-Davis combined for 49 of IU’s 71 points.
“I just think I'm making shots now and I wasn't making shots before,” Jackson-Davis said.
At the 13-minute mark, Al Durham found Jackson-Davis on the baseline for a left-handed and-one slam over Joshua Langford to put the Hoosiers up 48-39.
The two forwards also played well on the defensive end of the floor by being active with their hands and getting deflections off the ball. Thompson recorded a career-high seven steals.
“Race played hard. He is very active defensively,” Miller said. “I thought he and Trayce did a much better job for our team today in terms of impacting things at the rim.”
But just like they did in the first half, the Hoosiers let the Spartans go on a 13-2 run to secure their first lead of the game with just more than eight minutes left — and they wouldn’t let the Hoosiers get back out ahead again.
“I thought our second half offense really, after about the first five minutes, was bad,” Miller said. “We had seven turnovers in the second half, all seven of them were tough, bad place, took momentum and spirit away from ourselves.”
With five minutes left, Michigan State was up 70-58. The Hoosiers cut it to a 4-point deficit with 37 seconds left, but they couldn’t regain the lead they had for more than 27 minutes of the game.
Despite forcing 14 turnovers and scoring 17 points off of them, IU still couldn’t find a way to come out with a win.
Michigan State is projected to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, according to ESPN analyst Joe Lunardi. Ahead of this game, IU was projected to make the tournament as a 10 seed.