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Indiana fades against No. 5 Michigan State

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Hoosiers now 0-2 in Big Ten play

Sunday, January 5, 2014 - 8:14 am

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana has a week to regroup.

The Hoosiers (10-5) will need it.

Saturday's 73-56 loss to No. 5 Michigan State produced an 0-2 Big Ten start and lots of questions.

Here's one sure answer -- they don't play again until next Saturday at Penn State (9-6).

"We struggle with understanding momentum," coach Tom Crean said. "We struggle with understanding time and score. Some of it is immaturity. Some of it is youth. Some of it is just not understanding that the ball needs to go through the paint."

Case in point -- freshman forward Noah Vonleh. In 20 minutes he was just 2-for-4 from the field for five points. Some of his low number of shots was his inability to get open in the post against Michigan State's physical defense. Some was Hoosier guards not getting him the ball.

Crean left no doubt where he thought the biggest issue was.

"There's no doubt (Vonleh has) got to become a more demanding presence," he said. "He works too hard on his game. He's too good a person. He's got to be a demanding presence and become downright a little selfish.

"I hate using that term, but I have no better term than that for him, because that's what he's got to be around the paint."

Guard Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points, giving him a 23.5 average in Big Ten play. However, he also has six assists and 11 turnovers in two conference games, not the ratio you want from your point guard.

Senior swingman Will Sheehey regained his three-point shooting touch. He went 3-for-3, all in the second half, from beyond the arc. That was big given he has made just one of his previous seven three-pointers and was 9-for-37 from three-point range (24.3 percent) for the season.

Freshman guard Stanford Robinson came off the bench to total a career-high 11 points and four rebounds.

Michigan State (13-1, 2-0), which snapped a three-game losing streak to IU, was led by guard Gary Harris' career-high 26 points.

"I thought Harris was unbelievable," coach Tom Izzo said. "He's a special player and I promise he's not even close to where he's going to be. He was solid defensively and he did some good things on offense."

Indiana's first-half highlights included holding forward Adreian Payne to two points and two rebounds, and getting 10 points from Ferrell. It struggled to contain Harris (17 points) and forward Branden Dawson (11 points).

The result, Michigan State built a 33-24 halftime lead.

The Spartans' 7-1 run to open the second half made it 40-25. The Hoosiers closed within eight before Michigan State made another run.

IU hopes ended with eight minutes left after Sheehey had shot IU to within nine points. Robinson fouled Harris on a made three-pointer, complained about the call and got hit with a technical. The result was a five-point Spartan play, a 15-point lead and, eventually, a second straight Hoosier loss.

"MIchigan State has all the makings of what a national championship team would look like," Crean said. "Their maturity, their experience, their understanding of each other was a big, big difference in the game, the biggest difference in the game. That's why they have a chance to win the national championship and that's why we have a lot to learn."

And one other thing.

"We played hard," Crean said. "They played smart."