Jan. 8, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Michigan State made eight second-half 3-pointers to rally from an 11-point halftime deficit to hand the University of Iowa men’s basketball team a 75-61 defeat Thursday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes led 39-28 at the break before the Spartans caught fire in the second half. Michigan State made its first eight second-half 3-pointers and shot 66.7 percent to outscore Iowa by 25 points (47-22) to claim its ninth-straight win in the series.
“It seemed like they were making shot after shot and getting stop after stop,” said junior Anthony Clemmons.
Iowa traded blows with the Spartans over the first three minutes of the second half before the Spartans reeled off nine-straight points to cut the lead to 44-42 at the 13:54 mark. They tied the game at 46 with 11:44 to play.
MSU senior guard Travis Trice then went off, scoring 12-straight off a free throw, a jumper, and three 3-pointers over a 3 1/2 minute stretch to give the Spartans a 58-51 lead. Freshman Bryn Forbes followed with a 3-pointer at the 7:08 mark, extending the Spartan advantage to 61-51.
“I think we got a little shell-shocked at one point when they were hitting (all those 3s),” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “They were on fire.”
Michigan State didn’t miss from 3-point range in the second half until there were just 27 seconds remaining in the game.
The Spartans shot 50.9 percent from the field for the game, making 27-of-53 attempts, which included a 12-of-17 performance from long range. Iowa shot 43 percent, but just 36 percent in the second half, and went 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Michigan State out-rebounded Iowa, 35-29.
Michigan State’s big three — Trice, Branden Dawson, and Denzel Valentine — accounted for all but 18 of the Spartans’ 75 points. Trice made 8-of-13 field goals and 7-of-8 3-pointers en route to 25 points, Valentine finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, and Dawsen posted a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“The disappointing thing is whenever you play a team, you hope you can do a better job on their good players,” said McCaffery. “They have three elite guys, and that’s who hurt us. That’s disappointing.”
Senior Gabriel Olaseni led a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting — 15 came in the first half. Junior Jarrod Uthoff scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds, while junior Mike Gesell scored 10 to go along with three assists.
Michigan State jumped out to an 8-2 lead over the first two minutes, making seven of its first 13 shots and led for the first 12 minutes of the game before Olaseni nearly single-handedly brought the Hawkeyes back.
Olaseni entered the game at the 14:13 mark and provided instant offense. He made four-straight free throws to cut the lead to 16-12 and scored 13-of-15 Hawkeye points, turning a six-point deficit into a 23-20 lead.
Two Olaseni free throws cut the lead to 20-18 and a three-point play gave Iowa its first lead at 21-20. He followed with a fast-break layup to make the score 23-20 with eight minutes to play. On the Spartans’ next possession, Uthoff blocked a Valentine 3-pointer before racing for a layup to make the score 25-20 to send Carver into a frenzy.
“Olaseni was really good, he dominated us down there (in the first half),” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. “The second half, we did a little better on him, but that kid played like a man.”
Iowa (11-5, 2-1) returns to action Tuesday at Minnesota. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (CT) from Williams Arena.
“We’re going to keep fighting, keep coaching them up,” said McCaffery. “They’re great kids, and we’ve proven we can be really good. We lost to a really good team.”