EAST LANSING, Mich. — Victor Oladipo shook off a sprained left ankle with a spectacular performance to lift top-ranked Indiana to a 72-68 win over No. 4 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Oladipo’s go-ahead putback, dunk and free throws in the final minute gave him 19 points to go along with nine rebounds, five steals and a block. Not bad for a guy who didn’t play after halftime of his previous game, just three days earlier, because of the injury.
Hoosiers coach Tom Crean insisted that the junior shooting guard “wasn’t even close” to 100 percent healthy.
“There’s no doubt his foot hurt,” Crean said. “That mind was right, and that was the biggest thing.”
Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference — with four games left in the regular season — and moved a step closer toward earning top seeding next month in the NCAA tournament.
“It was a huge win for us,” Oladipo said. “We’ve come a long way.”
The Hoosiers had lost 17 straight — since 1991 — on the road against the Spartans.
“Most of those guys weren’t alive,” Crean said. “It didn’t affect them.”
Michigan State (22-5, 11-3) blew opportunities at the line.
Trailing by three with 3.7 seconds left, Harris was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He missed the first one — setting off sighs in the sold-out arena — and after making the second, he deliberately missed the third.
Indiana got the rebound — Oladipo grabbed it, of course — and he hit two free throws to seal the win.
“We were right there,” Gary Harris said somberly. “And, we could’ve won.”
Keith Appling had missed the front end of a one and one with a little more than a minute left.
“I’d say I was more upset than surprised,” he said.
Cody Zeller had 17 points — nearly doubling what he had in the previous matchup against Michigan State — while Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford scored 12 each for the Hoosiers.
Oladipo and Zeller went over the 1,000-point mark of their careers in the game, joining Hulls and Watford in the club, to give the storied program four players with that many points on the same team for the first time.
“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Izzo said. “They’ve got a lot of experience.”
Harris, Indiana’s Mr. Basketball last year, missed a layup in a crowded lane with 16 seconds left and finished with 19 points. Adreian Payne scored 17 and the rest of their teammates struggled offensively.
Appling, Michigan State’s leading scorer, was held to six points on 1-of-8 shooting.
“My quarterback struggled a little bit,” Izzo said.
Branden Dawson had eight points and Derrick Nix scored eight and some of his contributions offensively late in the game looked like they were going to help the school win its second game in the regular season against a No. 1 team.
Nix made a go-ahead shot — after grabbing rebounds off two of his misses — to put Michigan State ahead 64-63 lead with 3:08 left and scored again in the post on its next possession.
Harris made one of two free throws with 1:38 remaining to give the Spartans a game-high, four-point lead.
Watford responded with a three-point play on the ensuing possession to pull Indiana within a point and Oladipo did the rest.
Michigan State had won five straight and 11 of 12 with its only loss during the stretch at Indiana. In last month’s five-point loss at Indiana, Oladipo had 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocks.
The rematch marked the first time two top-five teams have met at the Breslin Center.
It was the third matchup of top-four teams in college basketball this season — the second for Indiana, which beat then top-ranked Michigan — and was just the fourth with a pair of Big Ten teams since 1997.
“Nothing rattles us too much,” Zeller said.
The highly anticipated and hyped game lived up to the billing with end-to-end action, scrambles for loose balls, 3-point shots, blocks in the lane and plenty of physical play.
And, a banged-up Oladipo was the star of the showdown.
“Oladipo is just a refuse-to-lose guy,” Izzo said. “Winning time, he made the plays.”
No. 2 MIAMI 54, VIRGINIA 50
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Reggie Johnson made a tie-breaking layup with 5.7 seconds left Tuesday night, and the Miami Hurricanes overcame a ragged offensive performance for the second game in a row to beat Virginia and remain unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Durand Scott added two clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds to go for the Hurricanes, who earned their 14th consecutive victory and took a big step toward their first league title. The win came two nights after they rallied late to beat Clemson 45-43.
The Hurricanes (22-3, 13-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) improved to 12-0 at home. They hold a 3½-game edge over second-place Duke in the ACC as they chase their first league basketball championship.
Virginia (18-8, 8-5) fell to 0-6 in Miami.
MISSOURI 63, No. 5 FLORIDA 60
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Laurence Bowers had 17 points plus 10 rebounds, and Missouri erased a 13-point deficit in the second half to rally past Florida.
Phil Pressey added 10 assists, seven points, six rebounds and three steals for Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC). The Tigers didn’t have Bowers a month ago in a 31-point blowout loss at Florida.
Mike Rosario had 14 points for Florida (21-4, 11-2) but missed a 3-point try at the buzzer. The Gators had won 13 of 14 and led 49-36 with 10:51 left, then hurt themselves at the foul line.
Florida missed five straight free throws in the second half, three times on the front end of one-and-ones. The Gators made six of 12 foul shots overall, while Missouri was 12 of 15.
The Tigers improved to 15-0 at home this season. They are 30-1 the last two seasons under coach Frank Haith.
No. 15 BUTLER 68, DUQUESNE 49
INDIANAPOLIS — Rotnei Clarke scored 16 points and Khyle Marshall added 14 to lead Butler past reeling Duquesne.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 9-3 Atlantic 10) have won five of their last six and managed to keep pace with league-leading Virginia Commonwealth, which went into the night with a one-game lead over Butler and a ½ game lead over St. Louis.
Duquesne (8-18, 1-11) was led by Derrick Colter with 11 points and Jerry Jones with nine but lost for the 15th time in 17 games.
It took Butler a while to warm up. Once they did, it was no contest.
The Bulldogs used built a 23-14 lead late in the first half and extended it to 36-22 at the break.
Butler scored 13 of the first 20 points in the second half to make it 49-29 and the Dukes never got closer than 15 again.
No. 17 MARQUETTE 67, SETON HALL 46
NEWARK, N.J. — Vander Blue scored 19 points, and Marquette used a sizeable rebounding advantage to beat Seton Hall.
The win enabled the Golden Eagles (19-6, 10-3 Big East) to hold onto first place in the conference with their fourth win in the last five outings. The Pirates (13-14, 2-12) dropped below the .500 mark for the first time this season — their worst league mark in 29 years.
Marquette went on a 17-0 run over a 5:38 span of the second half, right after Seton Hall grabbed a 33-32 lead. The Golden Eagles used their size advantage to take control, with Devante Gardner (18 points) scoring eight during that span.
Blue is averaging nearly 16 points per game since scoring his career best 30 points in a win against South Florida Jan. 28.
Marquette outrebounded Seton Hall by a 43-24 margin.
Fuquan Edwin had 14 points and Aaron Cosby 11 for Seton Hall.
SAINT LOUIS 76, No. 24 VCU 62
ST. LOUIS — Jordair Jett scored all 16 of his points in the second half, and Mike McCall Jr. added 15 to help Saint Louis win its eighth straight and take sole possession of first place in the Atlantic 10 with a 76-62 victory over VCU.
Saint Louis (20-5, 9-2) holds a half-game advantage over No. 15 Butler (21-6, 9-3), which beat cellar dweller Duquesne 68-49 Tuesday. The Billikens will visit Butler Friday. SLU defeated the Bulldogs at home 75-58 on Jan. 31.
Led by Jett and Cody Ellis, who contributed 10 points, SLU’s bench outscored VCU’s 34-14. Dwayne Evans also was in double figures for SLU with 14 points.
VCU (21-6, 9-3) was led by Juvonte Reddic with 19 points and 12 rebounds. The double-double was his 10th this season.