7:00 PM ET, January 28, 2003
Jack Breslin Student Events Center, East Lansing, Michigan
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State and Adam Ballinger both broke out of slumps.Kelvin Torbert and Alan Anderson each scored 12 points as the Spartans snapped their worst skid in six years with a 61-54 victory over Indiana (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) on Tuesday night.After Kyle Hornsby made a 3-pointer with 1:12 left to cut the Hoosiers' deficit to 56-54 and end a seven-minute field goal drought, Ballinger hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to essentially seal the win. "It killed us,'' Indiana coach Mike Davis said of Ballinger's shot. "Killed us.''Ballinger, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds last season, was the sixth player to come off the bench because he hasn't scored in double figures since early December and is averaging just six points and three rebounds.But after a timeout, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo called a play designed to get Ballinger open on the left wing. The senior rewarded Izzo's faith by making the decisive shot of the game."I wasn't thinking too much and that's probably why it went in,'' said Ballinger, who scored five points. "I don't think it solves everything, and I don't want to get crazy about this, but that lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.''The Spartans (11-8, 3-4 Big Ten) had lost six of eight games, their worst slump since 1996-97, Izzo's second season as head coach. "Well, we ain't dead yet,'' Izzo said.Izzo was as elated for Ballinger, a native of Bluffton, Ind., as he was for his slumping team."That was a rag-to-riches decision to run that play for Adam,'' Izzo said. "If you're playing Indiana, you have to go with a guy from Indiana. We knew it was going to be open. If you didn't love the guy, you had to tonight. The weight of the world is off his shoulders.''Aloysius Anagonye added 11 points for Michigan State, which also started 2-4 in the conference last season.Jeff Newton scored 15 points, George Leach had 14 and Tom Coverdale added 12 for the Hoosiers (14-5, 4-3), who have lost three of six.Bracey Wright, Indiana's leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting. The freshman guard had missed the last four games with a back injury. He had been the only Hoosier to score in double figures in every game this season.Wright was limited for the final 10-plus minutes because his legs cramped up."I thought I was OK until I stood up and couldn't walk,'' Wright said.The Hoosiers have lost 10 straight at the Breslin Center.Last season against Indiana at home, Ballinger made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 53 in a 57-54 win over the Hoosiers."They beat us with the same play last year,'' Newton said. "You have to respect the ball screen, and the outside shot. They put you in a lose-lose situation.'' Midway through the second half, Michigan State took a 46-40 lead -- the largest for either team at that point -- but the Hoosiers quickly tied the game for a ninth time and took the lead for the first time since scoring the first basket of the second half.Anagonye then made two free throws and added a dunk to put the Spartans ahead 50-46 with 5:40 left. They were able to keep a lead of at least three points until Hornsby ended Indiana's field goal drought. In the first half, there were seven lead changes and six ties, including the halftime score of 27-27.
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