Spartans Rally Past Iowa at Breslin

Hawk Talk Monthly — February | Hawkeye Fan Shop — A Black & Gold Store | Final Box (PDF) | Boxscore

EAST LANSING, Mich. — No. 24 Michigan State overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to down the No. 17/18 University of Iowa men’s basketball team, 78-70, on Tuesday night at the Breslin Center
The Hawkeyes led 33-27 at the half and Iowa pushed its lead to 42-32 at the 17:29 mark on a 3-pointer from senior Ryan Kriener. Michigan State followed by scoring nine of 10 points to close the gap to 43-41 with 16:04 remaining.
Iowa built its lead back to eight points with a Connor McCaffery 3-pointer pushing the margin to 49-41 and the Hawkeyes led 51-44 with 14-minutes left.  Michigan State’s Cassius Winston followed with five straight, Aaron Henry tied the game at 51, and Xavier Tillman’s layup gave the Spartans a 53-51 lead.
Senior Bakari Evelyn followed with four straight points to put Iowa back on top and the Hawkeyes led 60-56 with 6:57 remaining.  Michigan State followed with a 16-6 run to put the game away.
Iowa went 3-of-15 from the floor over the final 6:16.
Junior Luka Garza paced Iowa with 20 points on 8-of-21 shooting to go along with nine rebounds in 40 minutes.  Kriener scored 18 points and had seven rebounds in 18 minutes, while McCaffery scored 11 to go along with seven assists.
Michigan State shot 50 percent from the field (27-of-54), while limiting Iowa to a 40 percent field goal percentage, including a 36.4 percent mark in the second half.  The Hawkeyes went 6-of-27 from 3-point range, but out-rebounded the Spartans, 40-32.
Rocket Watts led Michigan State with 21 points, while Winston scored 20 and had nine assists.  Nineteen of his points came in the second half.
Quoting Head Coach Fran McCaffery
“It was everything everybody thought it would be in terms of intensity level and atmosphere. We handled all of those things except for the last couple of minutes. We were trying to get to the free throw line and didn’t get there, we had some open looks at 3 that didn’t go and got some second looks, which was great, but we had some uncharacteristic turnovers. You can’t come down the stretch and turn it over, not here.”
Of Note…

  • Michigan State won its first game of the season when trailing at the half.
  • Redshirt freshman CJ Fredrick missed his third straight game because of injury.
  • Garza extended his streak of 20 points in Big Ten games to 13, which ties a school record for most consecutive in conference play (Fred Brown, 1971).
  • Garza is now tied for third in program history with the most points in single season (662).
  • Kriener netted double figures for the third consecutive game, finishing with 18 points.

Up Next
Iowa returns to action Saturday, hosting No. 16 Penn State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena at 11:01 a.m. (CT).  The game is sold out.   

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