Hawkeyes upset No. 6 Michigan State, 43-36

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Tony Freeman had a career night and the University of Iowa defense held Michigan State to 30.8 percent shooting on its way to a 43-36 Hawkeye victory Saturday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Fans rushed the court as Iowa knocked off the No. 6 Spartans, giving head coach Todd Lickliter his first Big Ten victory. The win pushes Lickliter’s record to 7-7 against ranked teams as a head coach and Michigan State is the highest ranked team he has ever beaten in his career.

The loss stopped an 11-game win streak for the Spartans, dropping their record to 14-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten. With the win, Iowa moves to 8-9 on the season and 1-3 in the Big Ten.

Freeman scored a career-high 22 points while grabbing four steals and contributing three assists. His point total accounted for nearly half of Iowa’s total offensive production on a night. Spartan head coach Tom Izzo’s club was held to its lowest point total in his tenure.

“He (Freeman) did a great job,” Lickliter said. “He was poised and made great shots. He’s a terrific jump-shooter.”

The Hawkeyes forced 18 Michigan State turnovers which led to 15 points. Iowa also went to the free-throw line 29 times, converting 16 times, while holding Michigan State to only 1-of-4 from the line.

“We stayed with what we wanted to do,” Lickliter said. “We’re very capable of getting to the line and getting fouled. I just wish we would have made a couple more.”

Izzo called the Spartan’s four free-throw attempts “almost ridiculous.” Izzo also commented on his team’s 18 turnovers.

“Turnovers hurt you two ways,” Izzo said. “It depresses you and encourages them. This is one of the poorest games we’ve played maybe in my entire time as head coach. He (Lickliter) deserved what he got and we deserved what we got. Hats off to Iowa and disappointment for us. We were out of it all night. This will be a tape that gets burned.”

“We were down after Wednesday (a loss at Ohio State) but they (Hawkeyes) came back and prepared well,” Lickliter said. “It was important to play in the half court and we defended with better purpose.”

The Spartans came out of the gate running behind stars Drew Neitzel and Raymar Morgan to take an early 7-0 lead in the first half. Morgan scored the game’s first basket, followed by five quick points from Neitzel. Neitzel finished the night with 10 points, six assists and four steals, while Morgan finished with 10 points and four rebounds.

Iowa received a three-point basket from Freeman after being held scoreless for nearly the first four minutes of the half. Freeman added another bucket before Looby scored back-to-back dunks to ignite the Iowa crowd.

Morgan answered with four points for the Spartans and Chris Allen knocked down a three-pointer to push the Michigan State lead to nine at 18-9 with 8:08 left in the first half.

Iowa then got eight consecutive points from Freeman including two three-point baskets to cut the lead to 18-17, causing Michigan State to take a timeout with 3:56 left in the half.

Cyrus Tate added three free throws after being fouled twice in the paint to give Iowa its first lead of the game 20-18 at halftime. The Iowa defense held Michigan State scoreless the final 8:08 of the first half.

“We were out running early but it was a total breakdown by everyone on our team,” Izzo said.

Freeman’s first 13 points and back-to-back dunks from Looby was all the offense Iowa had in the first 17 minutes of the game. Iowa got all of its first half scoring from Freeman, Looby and Tate. Looby finished the night with nine points and eight rebounds while Tate also added nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.

Tate scored five early points in the first minutes of the second half to give Iowa a 29-25 lead. Michigan State’s Goran Suton then began to heat up scoring six points to pull the Spartans to within three 31-28. Suton finished the game with nine points, all of which came in the second half, and 11 rebounds.

Freeman then scored seven points, including two three-pointers, to push Iowa’s lead to five at 39-34. Iowa then made four free-throws down the stretch while a late basket by Neitzel wasn’t enough as Michigan State watched its win-streak fall to the Hawkeyes 43-36.

Iowa’s next game is at home against Purdue on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 6:05 p.m.