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Michigan State holds off Indiana, clinches Big Ten

Mar 4, 2009 - 6:18 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Raymar Morgan scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting to lead No. 8 Michigan State to a 64-59 victory over Indiana on Tuesday, clinching the Big Ten regular-season title.

Kalin Lucas led the way with 15 points and Durrell Summers chipped in 10 for the Spartans (24-5, 14-3 Big Ten), who claimed the outright Big Ten regular-season title for the first time since 1999.

"I think I'm like everyone else at times, being spoiled and forgetting how hard it is to win on the road," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "There have been a lot of championship teams that have gone to certain places where we were the superior team and we won in overtime, one by one, won by two. I was disappointed with our performance. But, I was impressed by Indiana's performance. We just hung in there and we played hard."

Michigan State ends the regular season on Saturday against Purdue, which sits 2 1/2 games back in second place.

The Hoosiers made it close with some tight defense in the second half, holding Michigan State without a field goal for nearly nine minutes before Morgan found his way to the rim for a dunk with 29 seconds left.

"We didn't execute very well," Izzo said. "We had a couple of turnovers and every time we touched a human being it was a foul. That got real sickening to be very honest about it. I did not really understand after like the fifth, it's so much different, it's hard for a player and it goes both ways."

The Spartans looked to be running away when they took a 56-43 with 9:10 left to play on Summers' three-point play, but Indiana used a 13-2 run to cut it to 58-56 on Nick Williams' 3-point shot with 5:16 left.

"I am very proud of the way we have bounced back since last Wednesday night against Northwestern with our mindset," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "They are believing that they can win. We are starting to play our best basketball in the sense because that mindset is so right. We played an excellent team tonight. We knew that. We knew we were going to have to be close to flawless to compete with them. And at the same time we were going to have to keep them off balance the best we could."

The Hoosiers missed on four straight possession with a chance to take the lead before Morgan's dunk gave Michigan State some breathing room.

Verdell Jones collected 15 points and six rebounds to lead Indiana (6-23, 1-16), which has lost eight in a row.

"This is a tough loss when you feel like you have it in your hands and then you let it slip away," Jones said.

"It was a great game," Crean said. "Our guys were in it the entire way, to the very end. They could have packed it in at the 13-point deficit, which could have happened in previous weeks, but hey didn't do that. That is a sign of maturity and our goal as we go through this is to keep playing better basketball, keep building a better mindset, and keep building that belief that we can win now and we can win in the future."

The Hoosiers' five home wins are their fewest in a single season since 1969-70. They also tied the school record for worst home winning percentage in a season (.333), set in the 1943-44 campaign.