Something to Build Upon

Stats | Boxscore

Jan. 9, 2010

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa startled Big Ten Conference-leading Michigan State out of the gate before the No. 10 Spartans defeated the Hawkeyes 71-53 on Saturday inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Following a turnover by Michigan State’s Raymar Morgan on the game’s first possession, UI sophomore Matt Gatens swished a 3-point field goal for a 3-0 advantage. The Hawkeyes led for the first seven-plus minutes with their largest margin 13-9 at the 14:40 mark of the first half.

“The good news is, we started the game the way we should have started it,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “I saw some good things. The only thing we can control is how we approach things.”

Michigan State improved to 13-3 overall, 3-0 in league play; Iowa is 5-11, 0-4. The Spartans have won four straight and the Hawkeyes have dropped their last four.

“If you get a road win in the Big Ten, that’s something you savor,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “I thought Iowa did a great job attacking in the first half. All in all, it wasn’t vintage us, but you have to give Todd (Lickliter) and his team credit. They sure didn’t quit.”

Gatens finished with a game-high 16 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field. He also dished out a game-high five assists. Freshman Cully Payne scored nine points with five rebounds.

Freshman Eric May made a 3-pointer with 14:40 left in the first half, giving Iowa a 13-9 lead. During the next 9:41, the Hawkeyes were outscored by 10 points and trailed 23-17. Iowa crept within five points at 31-26 when freshman Brennan Cougill made his second straight 3-pointer off an assist from Gatens. The second field goal drew a quick Michigan State timeout with two minutes left in the half.

“I like Iowa’s young kids, I really do,” Izzo said. “Todd just has to get the young guys older quicker. He’ll be a winner here.”

Michigan State won the rebounding battle, 38-22, and even though Iowa forced more turnovers (18 to 16), the Spartans scored eight more points off miscues than the Hawkeyes (21 to 13). Michigan State also doubled Iowa’s point total off the bench, 26-13.

“You always want to win, but when you get beat by a team, I don’t think you should hang your head,” Lickliter said. “You should use it to get better. I thought we defended well, especially at the start of the game. We moved the ball fairly well and we got productivity out of everybody we played. There were some things you can build on.”

Cougill and Aaron Fuller finished with six points apiece for the Hawkeyes. May scored five points and pulled down five rebounds.

Iowa remains at home Tuesday, Jan. 12, to face Tennessee State with an 8:06 p.m. tipoff. The Tigers (4-13) are coming off a 73-59 win against Tennessee-Martin on Jan. 9. The Hawkeyes return to Big Ten Conference play Saturday against Penn State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.