EAST LANSING, Michigan – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell, 63-61, at Michigan State on Thursday night at the Breslin Center. Iowa moves to 12-8 on the season and 4-5 in conference play.
The lead changed hands 13 times and the Hawkeyes led by as many as six points in the second half, but a pair of late jumpers saw the Spartans take a four-point advantage with under a minute to play.
Graduate student Connor McCaffery drilled a bucket with 35 seconds remaining, and Michigan State missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity to give Iowa one final possession. A pair of 3-point looks in the final five seconds would fail to connect as the Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak against Iowa.
Junior Ahron Ulis finished with a career-high 17 points to lead the game in scoring. Ulis was 8-of-10 from the floor, adding three assists and two rebounds through 35 minutes of action.
Fifth-year Filip Rebraca recorded his eighth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Rebraca added two blocks and a pair of assists to his stat line against the Spartans, helping Iowa outscore Michigan State, 38-24, in the paint.
Junior Kris Murray was Iowa’s third double-digit scorer with 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals on the contest.
Iowa finished with a slight, 38-37, advantage on the glass and shot 46 percent (26-of-57) from the field while holding the Spartans to 39 percent (24-of-62) shooting. The Hawkeyes shot 6-of-13 (46 percent) from the free throw line.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“The kids executed the play [on the final possession]. You want to get a second shot if you don’t make it, which we did. Connor [McCaffery] was thinking about a timeout, but then he saw Payton [Sandfort] open again, so he hit him. If we had to do it over again, we would take those two shots and try to win the game…
We got some good shots we didn’t make [down the stretch], but we also missed free throws. We had one or two turnovers. It is hard to come in here and turn the ball over 13 times and expect to win. That’s too many. But even then, we got good shots. We didn’t make them, and then we missed free throws. We have got to make free throws.”
- Michigan State snapped a three-game losing streak to Iowa.
- Junior Ahron Ulis scored a career-best 17 points (13 in the second half), reaching double figures for the season straight game (12 at Ohio State). Ulis has made a 3-pointer in a career-best five straight contests.
- Senior Filip Rebraca totaled 16 points and game bests in rebounds (11) and blocks (2) for his team-best eighth double-double of the season. He has scored 15+ for the seventh time in Iowa’s last 10 games and reaching double figures for the 13th time in 14 contests.
- Iowa falls to 2-2 in games decided by three points or less.
- The Hawkeyes made six free throws, their fewest in a game since making five at Nebraska (Dec. 29).
- Iowa’s three 3-pointers made equaled a season low (TCU, Duke).
- Four different Hawkeyes scored a field goal in the first four minutes, starting the game on a 10-0 run.
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play in tonight’s game for Iowa.
- Iowa and Michigan State will meet again on Feb. 25 in Iowa City.
Iowa (12-8, 4-5) will next play at Rutgers (14-6, 6-3) on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. Tickets are available for purchase at hawkeyesports.com/tickets.