By JAMES ALLAN
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State made three 3-pointers in a two-minute second-half stretch; the University of Iowa men’s basketball team shot 19 percent and made four 3-pointers for the game.
The result was a 77-66 Spartan victory Saturday night at the Breslin Center. The Hawkeyes fall to 14-12 overall and 6-7 in Big Ten play.
Michigan State shot 48.3 percent from the field, including 55.2 percent in a 46-point second half. The Spartans made nine 3-pointers for the game and had a 22-11 advantage in fast-break points. Michigan State had 24 assists on its 29 field goals and won despite committing 21 turnovers.
Iowa shot 32.8 percent for the game and went 4-of-21 from 3-point range.
“They got up into us, were connected, and made it hard,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We had some open looks from some good shooters and didn’t make them; that was unfortunate.”
The Hawkeyes led 32-31 at halftime, but it should have been more after Michigan State committed 12 first-half turnovers. Iowa scored 13 points off the miscues, but Spartan freshman Miles Bridges scored 14 points over the first 20 minutes to keep Michigan State afloat.
“Bridges in the first half was the difference in the game,” said McCaffery. “We turn them over 12 times, we should have been up by more than one. We didn’t shoot it well because they defended well, and they kicked us on the glass pretty good.
“You can’t come in here and get out-rebounded, 46-32; that’s going to make it hard.”
Michigan State turned the tide early in the second half with a game-changing run fueled by the 3-ball. The Spartans made the three 3-pointers — two by reserve Cassius Winston and one from Alvin Ellis III — to open a 53-44 lead with 12:14 to play.
Michigan State led by as many as 15 points with 3:51 remaining.
“We did not handle that one stretch where they separated from us,” said McCaffery. “They weren’t able to do that up until that point. It’s a credit to them.
“At that point, we needed a little more maturity in terms of shot selection, and limiting them to one shot. They also made some 3s in that stretch; that was big.”
Senior Peter Jok and freshman Tyler Cook paced Iowa with 13 points. Jok also had eight assists and five rebounds. Freshman Cordell Pemsl finished with 10 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes.
Bridges led all scorers with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Michigan State had four players reach double digits.
Iowa has a week off before hosting Illinois at 1 p.m. (CT) on Feb. 18 on Mediacom Court. A limited number of tickets remain through the UI Athletics Ticket Office.
“We’ll go back to work,” said McCaffery. “We have to work a little harder, challenge each other a little more, and continue to improve.”