Jan. 29, 2009
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by Derek Sawvell
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 9 Michigan State used sound defense and a quick transition game to notch its second win in the last seven games against the University of Iowa inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday night, 71-56.
“There was a green blur going past me at a very high rate of speed,” said UI head coach Todd Lickliter. “You can’t understand the speed they play at and by the time we realized it, they were ahead of us.”
Michigan State improved to 17-3 overall, 7-1 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa is now 12-9, 2-6.
“It was a big win for us,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “Iowa has struggled a little bit, but not at home. We got our running game going. Our speed was an advantage in there. We’re starting to make progress.”
Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas did most of the running for the Spartans, scoring 46 of the team’s 71 points. Lucas scored 24, while dishing four assists and grabbing two steals. Summers scored 21 points.
“Durrell and Kalin have a feel for each other,” said Izzo. “They have played a lot of ball together.”
Leading the way for the Hawkeyes was Jeff Peterson with 14 points and five assists. Matt Gatens added 13 points and three steals and Jarryd Cole scored a season-high 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
The Spartans shot 52 percent for the game (27-52) while Iowa shot 42 percent (22-52). Michigan State out-rebounded the Hawkeyes 35-28, including 11 offensive rebounds.
Michigan State used pin-point accuracy from the field (14-28, 50 percent) and a dominant performance on the boards, out-rebounding Iowa 23-9, to control first-half action. Iowa shot 40 percent for the half (10-25).
“There was a green blur going past me at a very high rate of speed. You can’t understand the speed they play at and by the time we realized it, they were ahead of us.”
UI men’s basketball coach
“If you don’t keep them off the glass and recognize their speed, any team in the nation will be in trouble,” said Lickliter.
Michigan State came out of the gate running, using the first five minutes of the game to build an 11-2 lead. Summers, coming off a career-high 26 points at Ohio State, started with a hot hand for the Spartans and continued hitting shots throughout the half. He scored 14 points in the half to lead the Spartans.
“”I said, `Let’s not let the crowd get into it,'” Izzo said. “Durrell is feeling comfortable with his shot.”
Gatens hit back-to-back three-pointers for the Hawkeyes to cut the Michigan State lead to 13-8, but three-pointers from Lucas and Summers helped the Spartans gain their first double-digit lead of the night, 20-10 with 9:47 left in the half. Lucas finished the half with 12 points, while Gatens finished with eight to lead Iowa.
After falling behind by 12, Cole came alive for Iowa, scoring six straight points to cut the Spartan lead to 27-19 with 4:32 left in the half. But the Michigan State defense would extend and hold the Hawkeyes to just two field goals the rest of the half, while Lucas continued to penetrate and hit shots, including two inside the final two minutes of the half to give the Spartans a 38-25 lead at the break.
“We played better and they missed some shots early,” said Izzo. “We gave this game a lot of attention.”
“He’s (Lucas) terrific,” said Lickliter. “He can go get a good shot about any time he wants.”
The Spartans came out running again to start the second half, using a 12-2 spurt to increase the lead to 48-28 within the first four minutes of the half. Summers and Lucas scored eight of the 12 points. The Spartans also extended their defense on Iowa’s guards, making it hard to fight through ball-screens.
“I thought we did a pretty good job covering them,” said Izzo. “We walled their guards and wanted to keep them out of the paint.”
“They’re well-coached, athletic and quick,” said Gatens.
“They did a great job,” said Lickliter. “They have skill and strength at every position.”
The teams traded buckets over the next seven minutes before the Hawkeyes began to heat up from three-point land. Iowa hit four three-point baskets in a row to cut the lead to 61-52 with 5:52 to go in the game.
“If you look at our Big Ten record, it’s bad,” said Lickliter. “I’m disappointed. But if you look at our play, I think we’re making progress. Our kids had resolve and that’s a step.”
After a Michigan State timeout, Summers scored five straight points to help the Spartans regain their double-digit lead, 66-52. After cutting the lead to nine points, the Hawkeyes made only two baskets in the final five minutes of the game while Lucas hit free-throws down the stretch for Michigan State, leading to a 15-point victory. Iowa’s next game is on the road at No. 19 Illinois on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 1:05 p.m.