News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

January 4, 2014

Harris scores 26 to help Spartans cruise past Hoosiers

BLOOMINGTON — Gary Harris sure likes coming back to Indiana.

Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2012 spurned the Hoosiers for Michigan State. In the two meetings last season between the schools, Harris averaged 20 points — but the Spartans lost both.

On Saturday, his career game helped keep No. 5 Michigan State unbeaten on the road.

Harris scored 26 points and the Spartans led for the final 32 minutes in a 73-56 win over the Hoosiers.

“I though Harris was unbelievable,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “He’s a special player and I promise he’s not even close to where he’s going to be.”

“Gary was an assassin today,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

It was a nip-and-tuck game through the first five minutes or so, with Harris’ layup tying the game at 9-9 with 15:21 to play in the first half.

Both teams struggled through the next three minutes, with the Hoosiers (10-5, 0-2 Big Ten) missing four shots and turning the ball over twice while the Spartans were 0-for-1 with two turnovers.

But Harris hit a 3-pointer to put Michigan State ahead 12-9 with 12:17 left in the first half, and the Spartans (13-1, 2-0) never trailed again.

The Hoosiers battled back to pull within 25-24 on a jumper by Jeremy Hollowell. But the Spartans scored the final eight points of the half on Branden Dawson’s layup and two 3-pointers by Harris to lead 33-24 at the break.

The Hoosiers closed the gap to eight points twice in the second half, but could get no closer.

Harris had 17 points at halftime after shooting 6-of-14 from the field and 4-of-7 at the free throw line. He finished 8-of-18 and 5-of-10 respectively.

Freshman Stanford Robinson played a role in slowing Harris down in the second half.

“I wish we would have got him on Harris quicker,” Crean said.

Robinson also had the first double-digit scoring game of his career, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting.

Crean said Robinson had IU’s highest plus-minus in the games leading up to the Hoosier’s Big Ten opener at Illinois, “and it wasn’t even close,” he added.

Whether that means a promotion to the starting lineup remains to be seen. While starters Yogi Ferrell (17 points) and Will Sheehey (13 points) did well, the rest of IU’s starters—sophomore Jeremy Hollowell and freshmen Noah Vonleh and Troy Williams—were a combined 4-of-15 from the field for 13 points.

“Our sophomores have to pick it up, there’s no question,” Crean said.

The Spartans snapped IU’s three-game winning streak in the series and dropped the Hoosiers to 6-1 at home this season. It was also IU’s largest margin of defeat at Assembly Hall since an 85-67 loss to Ohio State on Dec. 31, 2010.

On the bright side for IU — the Hoosiers’ streak of games with 20 or more turnovers ended at three.

“We still had more than what we wanted to get on turnovers,” Ferrell said. “We didn’t get enough points off their turnovers.”

Michigan State converted IU’s 15 turnovers into 22 points, while the Hoosiers scored 12 off 11 miscues by the Spartans.

Michigan State also outscored IU 30-18 in the paint.

Keith Appling added 14 points and Dawson scored 13 for the Spartans.

 

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