Victor Oladipo "wasn't even close" to 100% healthy, Indiana Coach Tom Crean said of his star player Tuesday night. He was referring to the junior guard's sprained left ankle, which had kept him out of the second half of the Hoosiers' previous game three days earlier.
But mentally Oladipo was all there, and that was enough to help No. 1 Indiana get past No. 4 Michigan State, 72-68, to take sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.
“There's no doubt his foot hurt,” Crean said of Oladipo. “That mind was right, and that was the biggest thing.”
Oladipo led the way for the Hoosiers with 19 points, including all six of the team's points during the crucial final minute. After trailing by as many as four during the final two minutes, Indiana took a 68-67 lead with 47 seconds remaining when Oladipo got the tip-in on a missed shot by teammate Kevin Ferrell.
Still nursing the one-point lead, Oladipo got a wide-open dunk off an inbound bomb from teammate Christian Watford for a 70-67 lead with 10 seconds left. But Michigan State still had life when Gary Harris was fouled on a three-point attempt with four seconds left.