March 9, 2012
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By ADAM MEIER
INDIANAPOLIS — As a reward for knocking off Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team received a date with top-seeded Michigan State in the quarterfinal round on Friday. The Hawkeyes fought hard against the 8th-ranked Spartans, but Michigan State’s size was too much to overcome as Iowa fell, 92-75, at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Michigan State’s post players caused problems for the Hawkeyes with both points in the paint and rebounds. Led by Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green and Adreian Payne, the Spartans dominated inside with 44 points in the paint and a 36-24 rebounding edge. Green finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Payne, a sophomore, ended the game with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Iowa finishes the year at 17-16 overall, while Michigan State improves to 25-7 on the season.
“We lost to a very good team today, a very good team who played really hard” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “That’s a team that’s going to be playing for a long time.”
Senior Matt Gatens was limited to 10 points due to stout defense by Michigan State’s Brandon Wood. Freshman Josh Oglesby led the Hawkeyes with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including 5-of-7 from 3-point distance. Sophomores Zach McCabe and Roy Devyn Marble each added 13 points.
“They out rebounded us,” Marble said. “I don’t think it was the lack of us not being tough. It felt like they were just quicker to the ball. They out-jumped us, and we weren’t able to adjust.
“When you got guys like Draymond [Green] and Adreian Payne who are excellent rebounders; it’s difficult.”
Iowa took an early 7-2 lead off of a McCabe 3-pointer and a jumper by freshman Aaron White. The Hawkeyes lost the lead soon after, but freshman Oglesby got it back by drilling a 3-pointer that gave the Hawkeyes a 12-11 advantage. McCabe then nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, the second of which gave Iowa an 18-15 lead with 13:32 lead in the first half.
The game was tied at 22 midway through the first period when Michigan State started to take control. The Spartans took off on a 9-0 run that gave them a 31-22 advantage and from there things took a turn for the worse for the Hawkeyes.
“I thought at the start of the game we came out the right way,” McCaffery said. “We had a good beginning, and then it got away from us there a little bit. I thought we fought hard in the second half.” The Spartans were unstoppable in the first half, shooting 21-of-30 (70 percent) from the field, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes shot well themselves, going 12-of-26 (46.2 percent) from the field over the first 20 minutes.
Despite giving away only three turnovers in the first period, Iowa still found themselves trailing 55-39 at halftime.
Michigan State cooled down in the second half but still ended the game shooting 32-of-55 (58.2 percent) from the field. The Hawkeyes finished the game 23-of-53 (43.4 percent) from the field and hit 10-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Oglesby did his best to bring the Hawkeyes back to within striking distance; scoring 14 points in the last six and a half minutes of the contest, including four 3-pointers in that span. The freshman’s long ball with 3:05 remaining brought Iowa’s deficit to 85-70, but the Hawkeyes didn’t get any closer.
The Hawkeyes will now wait and see if a postseason tournament invitation is on the table.
“We’d love to continue playing,” Gatens said. “It would be great for the program to get an NIT bid and continue playing and fight for something. The young guys need it. More practices, more games; it would be great for the program.”