Determined Comeback Falls Short

Stats | Boxscore

Jan. 20, 2010

Box Score | Quotes

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A gritty comeback by the young University of Iowa men’s basketball team came up short, 70-63, Wednesday against No. 7 Michigan State inside the Breslin Center.

Trailing by as many 19 points, the Hawkeyes stormed back to within three with 2 minutes, 3 seconds remaining following a 3-point field goal by leading scorer Matt Gatens. Two made free throws by Jarryd Cole cut the Spartan edge to 66-63 with 17.2 seconds remaining, but Michigan State closed out with a 4 for 4 effort from the line.

Iowa (7-12 overall, 1-5 Big Ten Conference) trailed 55-36 with 11:11 remaining before going on a 27-11 run over the next 10 minutes. The Spartans improved to 16-3, 6-0.

UI sophomore Aaron Fuller just missed a third consecutive double-double, scoring 13 points with nine rebounds and three assists.

“If we can play more consistent the whole game, we can hang with anybody,” Fuller said. “We need to play the entire game like we did at the end.”

Gatens totaled his team-high 17 points on 6 of 16 shooting from the field and 4 of 5 from the line. Gatens had three assists. The Hawkeyes had two other players join Gatens and Fuller with double figures in points. Cully Payne scored 12 points and Cole added 10 and seven rebounds. Eric May netted eight points with three steals and two blocked shots.

“To our guy’s credit, they’re a team that will fight, they have pride and they care,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “You cannot criticize their effort.”

For the game, Iowa made 23 of 56 from the field (41.1 percent), 7 of 25 from 3-point range (28.0) and 10 of 13 from the line (76.9).

The Hawkeyes grabbed their biggest lead at 19-14 with 10:39 left in the first half when Cole converted a layup off an assist by Gatens.

“We were stuck on 19 a long time,” Lickliter said. “Give them a lot of credit. They’re good.”

Iowa travels to Bloomington, Ind., to play the Hoosiers on Sunday, Jan. 24, beginning at 5:06 p.m. (Note time change).