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Zeller, Oladipo help Hoosiers repel Spartans

The SportsXchange

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Cody Zeller didn't do much for the stat sheet, but he did plenty to affect the final score.

Indiana's center scored a key basket late, then drew a charge in the closing seconds, helping No. 8 Indiana beat No. 11 Michigan State 75-70 on Sunday afternoon.

Zeller, Indiana's leading scorer for the season, had nine points and seven rebounds (18-2, 6-1 Big Ten) after scoring just two points against Penn State on Wednesday.

His teammates say his impact goes way beyond numbers.

"People might say he's had two bad games, but he's been playing phenomenal," said guard Victor Oladipo, who finished with a season-high 21 points.

Christian Watford scored 12 points, Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell had 11 and Jordan Hulls added 10 for the Hoosiers, who have won three in a row since a loss to Wisconsin.

Gary Harris led Michigan State with 21 points. Adreian Payne had 18 points and nine rebounds and Branden Dawson added 12 points for the Spartans (17-4, 6-2), who had won six straight.

Indiana led 72-70 before Zeller, a 7-footer, drove from the top of the key for a layup with 1:38 remaining. His teammates saw nothing unusual about their big man putting the ball on the floor like a guard.

"He's got that," Ferrell said. "It's not freakish for us. We see it all the time."

After Zeller's bucket, Michigan State's Harris missed a 3-pointer at the other end and Zeller rebounded. Indiana's Oladipo then missed, giving Michigan State a chance to make things interesting. Payne drove to the hoop, but Zeller drew the charge with 14.3 seconds left.

"It was winning time," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "Cody answered the bell. He rang the bell. He drew the charge. That's his mental toughness. He's so nonstatistic driven. That's why he's a winner. He does what it takes."

Michigan State limited Zeller to seven field-goal attempts.

"I thought we did a pretty good job on Zeller, but other guys hurt us, and that's the mark of a good team," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Keith Appling, Michigan State's leading scorer for the season, fouled out with a season-low three points. He picked up his fourth foul about five minutes into the second half and fouled out with 5:17 to go. Playing without Appling late caused problems for the Spartans.

"We had our chances, and our key guy wasn't there," Izzo said. "Appling's a guy we go to down the stretch, and we've won games that way. He really didn't play the whole second half."

Indiana made six of its first seven shots, but the score was tied at 13 because Michigan State hung tough on the boards.

A steal by Oladipo led to a basket by Ferrell that gave the Hoosiers a 28-19 lead with 7:31 left in the first half.

A putback dunk by Payne, then a steal and dunk by Dawson cut the deficit to 28-23 in five seconds. Derrick Nix scored to cut the deficit to three, and a 3-pointer by Travis Trice tied the score. Harris hit a 3-pointer to give Michigan State a 31-30 lead.

Will Sheehey's 3-pointer put the Hoosiers up 33-31 with 3:39 left in the first half. Michigan State tied the score when Trice lobbed a perfect pass to Payne, who dunked behind his head with two hands to make it 38-all.

Sheehey answered with a 3-pointer. The Hoosiers forced a shot-clock violation and got the ball back with 11.1 seconds left. Ferrell followed with a 3-pointer that gave Indiana a 44-38 lead at halftime.

The Hoosiers shot poorly early in the second half, but made enough baskets and got enough key stops to pull out the win.

"This is a big game that will help us down the road," Watford said. "That's how it's going to be in the Big Ten tournament. Teams aren't going to give up."

Notes: Indiana entered the weekend as the only team in the nation in the top 10 in field-goal percentage and field-goal percentage defense. ... Zeller scored a career-low two points in his last game against Penn State. ... Michigan State entered the game having won six of the past seven meetings between the teams. ... Michigan State wore their NIKE Hyper Elite uniforms, which were forest green with gold numbers and had a Spartan head on the front above the numbers. ... Zeller and Dawson faced off for the Indiana Class 3A state title in 2010. Zeller's Washington team beat Dawson and Gary Lew Wallace 65-62 in overtime.
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