Scores

Final

(8) Michigan State 64

(24-5, 14-3 Big Ten)

Indiana 59

(6-23, 1-16 Big Ten)

    7:00 PM ET, March 3, 2009

    Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Indiana

    1 2 T
    #8MSU 34 3064
    IND 27 3259

    Top Performers

    Michigan State: R. Morgan 14 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Indiana: V. Jones III 15 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    No. 8 Michigan St. scores eight points in final nine minutes, holds off Indiana

    Associated Press

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Tom Izzo spent most of Tuesday night scratching his head.

    Now he can worry about protecting his soon-to-be clean skull.

    On a night No. 8 Michigan State was anything but razor-sharp, Kalin Lucas and Raymar Morgan dug down and carried the Spartans to a 64-59 Big Ten title-clinching victory at Indiana to set up Izzo's haircutting appointment after the NCAA tournament.

    "Yeah, I don't lie to my students," Izzo said reluctantly, referring to the promise he made last fall to shave his head if the Spartans won their first outright league title in a decade.

    Losing the locks was the least of Izzo's concerns Tuesday.

    He winced at his team's uncharacteristic sloppiness, its inability to put away the short-handed Hoosiers and the continual calls from officials. Izzo even drew a technical foul during a second-half television timeout for arguing with the referees.

    But after this decade-long drought, during which the Spartans (24-5, 14-3) made three Final Four appearances and won a national title, they'll take anything they can get -- even Izzo's hair.

    "It would be kind of crazy to see Coach Izzo bald and nobody's ever seen him bald before," said Lucas, who led the Spartans with 15 points. "That would be a different look for him."

    Unfortunately, for Indiana, this game had a familiar script.

    The Hoosiers stayed close most of the night and even rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit before running out of gas. They missed eight free throws and couldn't take advantage of four opportunities to tie the score or take the lead in the final 3:31.

    Verdell Jones led the Hoosiers with 15 points. Nick Williams and Malik Story each had 11, not quite enough to avoid an eighth straight loss or two more dubious distinctions in Hoosiers history.

    Indiana (6-23, 1-16) finished 5-10 at Assembly Hall, the fewest home wins since going 5-6 in 1969-70. The Hoosiers also matched the 1943-44 team for the worst home winning percentage (.333) in school history.

    Coach Tom Crean, who was once on Izzo's staff, saw it another way.

    "We're starting to play our best basketball because our mind-set is so right," he said. "We played a great team tonight and we knew we would have to be almost flawless to beat them. They could have packed it in at the 13-point deficit, but they didn't do it like they have in past games. That's a sign of maturity."

    For the Spartans, the close call was a hair-raising experience.

    They were heavily favored over Indiana's short-handed team and had another advantage when the Hoosiers' top scorer, Devan Dumes, went down with what appeared to be a right knee injury less than four minutes into the game. Dumes did not return, and Crean did not provide any additional details afterward.

    "We're not even sure if we can call it day-to-day right now," Crean said.

    Yet that wasn't enough to make the feisty Hoosiers go away.

    Morgan had 14 points and seven rebounds, and his thunderous dunk off a rebound with 27.5 seconds to go finally gave the Spartans a two-possession cushion. Lucas and Morgan sealed it by making three free throws in the final 15.5 seconds.

    But Izzo was surprised his team didn't play better two days after winning at Illinois.

    The Spartans committed 14 turnovers and couldn't seal until the final seconds because they scored only three points over an 8½-minute stretch.

    That gave Indiana a chance to rally.

    After trailing 56-43 with 9:10 to go, the Hoosiers scored on two straight possessions and Matt Roth hit two free throws after the technical to make it 56-49. Malik Story followed that with a driving layup to make it 58-51. When freshman walk-on Daniel Moore hit two free throws and Williams hit a 3-pointer from the right wing, Indiana was suddenly within 59-56 with 4:42 left.

    Jones then missed 2-of-3 free throws and a potential go-ahead 3-pointer, and Michigan State's defense buckled down to clinch the title -- and force Izzo to grudgingly admit he would hold up his end of the deal.

    "I lie to my other people, but I don't lie to my students, which will be embarrassing," Izzo said. "I'm not going to embarrass my team in the NCAA tournament. I'm going to wait till it's all over and embarrass my wife then."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    MSU
    IND
    Points 64 59
    FG Made-Attempted 22-43 (.512) 20-43 (.465)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-11 (.455) 5-12 (.417)
    FT Made-Attempted 15-22 (.682) 14-22 (.636)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 7 0

    2008-09 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Feb 7, 2009 @MSU 75, IND 47Recap
    » Mar 3, 2009 MSU 64, @IND 59Recap