Published: Sat, January 20, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Spartans bounce back with rout

Spartans bounce back with rout

Freshman guard Jamir Harris has emerged in sophomore guard Amir Coffey's (shoulder injury) absence, averaging 13 points over the team's last two games; he had scored more than six points just twice in the team's first 15 contests. Senior guards Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk made all eight of IU's 3-pointers, but Newkirk needed 12 attempts to make just four while the rest of the Hoosiers aside from Johnson missed all eight of their shots from deep. But a Spartans defense that held the Hoosiers (11-8, 4-3) to 33 percent didn't allow the lead to shrink lower than 17.

"We really played a good first half".

"I think we're going to go back and try to build each day in practice this week", Johnson said. "I was not pleased with the second half".

Turnovers have been a point of emphasis for the Spartans, who've turned it over 47 times in their three losses this season. But the Hoosiers were eight of 26 from the three-point line.

BLOOMINGTON - takes a three-game win streak north to visit conference powerhouse Michigan State on Friday night, thanks to a pair of victories in what surely qualifies as the Hoosiers' best week of Big Ten play this season.

"Cassius was a lot more solid defensively tonight", Izzo said.

Ward finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

"We had worked on that for three straight days, what we wanted to do when we're faced with those looks", Izzo said. Without De'Ron Davis - and later Juwan Morgan, who left the game late in the first half with an ankle injury - Nick Ward was able to have his way on the interior.

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IN was noticeably outsized in this game and deeply missed its 6-foot-10 sophomore center De'Ron Davis, who underwent season-ending surgery on January 10 to fix a torn Achilles tendon in his right leg.

On the glass, the Spartans crushed - and I mean CRUSHED - the Hoosiers 45-27, and as they were demoralizing the Hoosiers on the court, IN was forced to endure yet another blow emotionally. Currently, the Spartans are doing a lot of soul searching while trying to avoid slipping further down the Big Ten standings. Chris Holtmann was a good replacement for Thad Matta, but surely it would take the new coach a while to get his legs under him.

A Bridges 3-pointer pushed the Spartans' lead to 20 at 37-17 with 6:14 remaining in the half. In that Wolverines game, Spartans guard Miles Bridges put up 19 points and six rebounds. But Michigan State relented with an up-tempo offense that wore down IU early on, and an 18-0 Spartan run ensued. "That's what I'm most excited about".

After losing to MI and Ohio State and escaping against Rutgers last week, the Spartans returned to the form they showed during much of their 14-game win streak. This was a team that looked like they felt a bit unfairly discredited and looked down upon, and came out tonight wanting to show those doubters how much that has fueled them.

"We got the break going, we got the rebounding going, we got the ball moving", Izzo said. Whoever jumps out, you're gonna miss out.

"They were very, very motivated to run the floor", Miller said.

The Spartans, whose roster features a pair of potential lottery picks in freshman forward Jaren Jackson and sophomore guard Miles Bridges, will be trying to get back on the good foot after losing two of their last three games, including failures against Ohio State on the road and in-state rival MI at home.

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