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Zeller lifts Indiana over Michigan State

Feb 29, 2012 - 4:04 AM Bloomington, IN (Sports Network) - Cody Zeller poured in 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting as No. 18 Indiana knocked off No. 5 Michigan State, 70-55, on Tuesday at Assembly Hall.

Victor Oladipo netted 13 points, Verdell Jones III finished with 12 and Christian Watford had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Hoosiers (23-7, 10-7 Big Ten), who have won three straight games to get on a roll heading into the Big Ten Tournament, which begins on March 8. Jordan Hulls rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10.

Indiana improved to 17-1 at home and defeated a top-5 team at Assembly Hall for the third time this season. They took down top-ranked Kentucky on December 10 and second-ranked Ohio State on December 31.

"I thought game management, game energy, the band, everybody was high level and fortunately our team was the same way," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "They (Michigan State) execute, they play both ends, they've got one of the best defenses in the country and certainly in the league, they've got star power, they've got high quality players and our guys matched it and I'm very, very proud of them because it's a game where not only do you want to be measured by how you play against Michigan State, but to get a win like that means an awful lot."

Michigan State was carried by Draymond Green, who finished with 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the floor to go with eight rebounds. Green's 10 field goals matched the offensive output of all of his teammates combined.

The Spartans (24-6, 13-4) blew a chance to wrap up the Big Ten regular season title and had their seven-game winning streak snapped.

With the game tied at six early, Indiana began to show why it is so good at home, scoring eight consecutive points to jump out to a 14-6 lead with 14:41 left in the opening half.

Austin Thornton later hit a three-pointer for Michigan State to pull the Spartans within five, but a pair of free throws by Jones and a layup by Oladipo extended the Hoosiers lead to nine with nine minutes to go before the break.

A trey and a free throw by Green got Michigan State to within 22-17, but a pair of buckets from the stripe sparked a 10-5 flurry by the Spartans to increase the lead to double-digits, 32-22, with five minutes to go.

Indiana led by a comfortable 41-27 margin at the break.

The Hoosiers controlled play in the opening half by getting to the basket frequently, shooting 16-of-18 from the foul line, while the Spartans got to the charity stripe just five times.

Indiana was led by Oladipo with 11 points, while Green almost single-handedly kept the Spartans from being blown out of the gym, scoring 16 of his team's 27 first-half points.

Michigan State got off to a quick start in the second half, using a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to six early in the second half. Keith Appling capped the burst with a jumper to make it 43-37, but anytime the Spartans got close, Indiana came up with big buckets to expand its lead.

Watford sank a layup and Will Sheehey drained a jumper on a break following a steal by Hulls to put the Hoosiers back up by double-digits, 47-37, with 14:39 left.

Appling made two free throws with seven minutes remaining to again pull the Spartans within six, 55-49, but the Hoosiers had yet another answer as Zeller made 1-of-2 from the line and Watford hit a big trey to put Indiana up, 59-49, with six minutes to play.

The Hoosiers cranked up their defensive intensity the rest of the game, allowing only six points over the final six minutes of action to win going away.

"I thought the game was kind of lax there off the bat," Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. " We just didn't do things that we had worked on. We knew two things: dribble penetration would be a key and defend without fouling. Those things we did a poor job of but give Indiana credit. They did a great job."

Game Notes

Indiana leads the all-time series between the teams, 65-48...Indiana snapped a six-game losing streak to Michigan State...Spartans' freshman guard Travis Trice returned to action after missing four games with an ankle injury...Crean beat Michigan State for the first time in his career, he had been 0-7...Indiana shot 47.9 percent from the floor, while Michigan State shot just 39.2 percent...The Hoosiers went 19-of-22 from the free-throw line, while the Spartans struggled from the stripe, going just 10-of-17.