Victor Oladipo leads way as IU stops Breslin drought
By laMond Pope 648-3090 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 19, 2013 11:00PM
Indiana's Victor Oladipo, left, is fouled by Michigan State's Gary Harris (14) after Oladipo collected a rebound off a missed free throw by Harris in the final seconds of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in East Lansing, Mich. Indiana won 72-68. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
Updated: March 21, 2013 6:42AM
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Victor Oladipo wasn’t born yet the last time Indiana won at Michigan State.
There were some questions about the junior guard’s availability heading into Tuesday’s top-5 showdown with the Spartans because of an injury to his left ankle.
Oladipo started. And then he finished off the Spartans. Oladipo had 19 points, nine rebounds and five steals as the No. 1 Hoosiers defeated No. 4 Michigan State 72-68 in front of 14,979 fans at Breslin Center.
“There was no way Victor Oladipo was even close to 100 percent,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “But the way he finished the game — the way he played the entire game was excellent — but the way he finished the game, when he was winded, there was no doubt he was hurt. I’ve been around him a long time. I know when he is right and when he is not right. But I know that that mind was right and that was the biggest thing.”
The victory snapped Indiana’s 17-game losing streak at Breslin Center. It’s the Hoosiers (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) first win at Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) since Feb. 28, 1991.
With the win, IU gained sole possession of first place in the conference.
Cody Zeller had 17 points and five rebounds. Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford both had 12 points. But Oladipo was the difference, making big plays down the stretch.
First, he crashed the boards on a missed layup by Yogi Ferrell and tipped the ball in, giving IU a 68-67 lead with 46 seconds remaining. It was the 1,000th point of his career.
“No play is over until the ball goes through the hoop,” Oladipo said. “I just crashed just in case and luckily the ball came right to me and I tipped it in.”
Gary Harris — who led Michigan State with 19 points — missed on the other end. IU called a timeout and then Christian Watford hit Oladipo in stride with a pass that traveled about half the distance of the court on the inbounds pass.
“It worked out in our favor,” said Watford. “I didn’t know that was going to be open. People usually take that away. They had to double someone and they had a double on Jordan. I guess they didn’t want to give him the free throws, so Victor was wide open.”
Oladipo finished with an easy dunk to extend the lead to 70-67.
“Everybody went to Jordan and Christian found me,” Oladipo said. “And that’s all she wrote.”
Harris was fouled by Will Sheehey while shooting a 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds to go. Harris missed the first and made the second foul shot. He missed the third on purpose, but Oladipo was there to grab the rebound. Oladipo was fouled and made both shots to secure the win.
“For me,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said, “the MVP of this league, Oladipo, made every play when he needed to.”