EAST LANSING (Detroit Free Press) - It looked looked, felt and sounded like a championship game.
And it might just turn out to be one.
In the first meeting of men's basketball top-5 teams in the history of the Michigan State campus, the No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers and No. 4 MSU Spartans played a game worthy of that history tonight at Breslin Center.
And when it was all over, Indiana was alone in first place after blowing a lead, getting it back in the final minute and prevailing, 72-68.
The Hoosiers (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) got 17 points from Cody Zeller and 19 and the winning tip-in from Victor Oladipo with 46 seconds left - breaking a 17-game losing streak at Breslin and winning there for the first time since 1991.
MSU (22-5, 11-3) led 67-63 with 1:25 left, but a Christian Watford three-point play at Adreian Payne's expense started the comeback. Keith Appling then missed the front end of one-and-one for MSU with 1:09 left, setting up Oladipo's soaring putback of a Yogi Ferrell miss.
MSU's Gary Harris (19 points) then missed on a hard drive to the basket, looking for a foul but not getting one. Oladipo got a dunk on the ensuing inbounds play with 10.1 ticks left, and the Spartans had one more chance.
Harris got the ball, pumped and was fouled by Indiana's Will Sheehey with 3.7 ticks left. But he missed the first, made the second and missed the third intentionally - and Oladipo grabbed it and sealed it with two foul shots.
Payne had 17 points for MSU while Appling was 1-for-8 for six points.
From the start, it was obvious this would not be the rollicking romp the building enjoyed a week ago in a 73-53 MSU blowout of Michigan. The Hoosiers came out firing and the Spartans started fumbling the ball away after taking an early 11-8 lead.
The Hoosiers took the lead on a Watford three-pointer and continued building it until it got as high as eight in the first. Oladipo was a problem for MSU on both ends, just as in IU's 75-70 home win over MSU on Jan. 27. And the Spartans turned it over eight times in the first half.
MSU got 10 points from Payne in the first half, but he sat the final 6:52 with two fouls. It was 36-30 IU at the break and the lead got to seven before the Spartans started chipping away.
A Harris three-pointer followed by a Branden Dawson fast-break layup capped a 7-0 MSU run and put the Spartans up 49-48. The Hoosiers took two minutes to score six straight and regain control.
The Spartans got it right back on a driving Payne layup to go up 60-59. Oladipo got a steal and a dunk to take it back.
Nix got it back with a layup after a Zeller block, then stole an entry to Zeller, then put a hard move on Watford and scored inside on Watford. It was 66-63 Spartans.
Contact Joe Rexrode: 313-222-2625 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @joerexrode. Check out his MSU blog at freep.com/heyjoe.