No. 8 Michigan St. 92, Iowa 75
Michigan State could do little wrong against Iowa in the first
half, and that’s all it took for the eighth-ranked Spartans to move
into the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Shooting 70 per cent from the field over the first 20 minutes,
Michigan State cruised to a 92-75 victory over the Hawkeyes on
Friday, with Draymond Green leading the way with 21 points and 10
”In the halfcourt, they were pounding it inside,” Iowa coach
Fran McCaffery said. ”We went from man to zone, back to man and
back to zone. There’s not much more you can do. We pressed a little
bit, but we give up a lot of size to them.”
Michigan State (25-7) led 55-39 at the break after scoring on
all but nine of their possessions. Adreian Payne chipped in with a
career-high 16 points, Keith Appling had 12 points and six assists
and Brandon Wood added 10 points.
When it was over, top-seeded Michigan State shot 58 per cent
from the field, and looks ready to go on one of its usual March
runs in the NCAA tournament.
”What did impress me today was our passing and or unselfishness
for three-fourths of that game,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo
The Spartans will play No. 15 Wisconsin on Saturday – the
Badgers defeated No. 14 Indiana 79-71 in another quarterfinal
Izzo said he needs his defense to improve if the wins are to
”You have to be able to defend and rebound in this tournament
because you don’t have many 90-point games in the NCAA tournament
or this kind of tournament,” he said. ”I think we did that pretty
well most of the time.”
Josh Oglesby scored 20 points for Iowa (17-16). Zach McCabe and
Roy Devyn Marble added 13 points each for the Hawkeyes, who
defeated Illinois on Thursday. Iowa entered Friday’s game having
won four of six games, including wins against Indiana and
But the Hawkeyes faced a significant size disadvantage against
the Spartans. The Hawkeyes didn’t grab their first offensive
rebound until 2:39 remained in the first half, and they lost the
overall rebounding matchup 36-24.
Michigan State played its first game without forward Branden
Dawson, a freshman who tore a left knee ligament in the
regular-season finale against Ohio State.
The Spartans didn’t need him against the Hawkeyes, who have the
Big Ten’s worst defense. Michigan State defeated Iowa 95-61 on Jan.
10, and this one wasn’t much different.
A reverse layup by Derrick Nix, then a putback by Green on Nix’s
missed free throw put Michigan State up 26-22 midway through the
first half. A 3-pointer by Payne pushed the lead to 31-22 and
forced Iowa to call timeout.
Three Spartans scored in double figures in the first half, with
Payne’s 12 points leading the way. Payne came into the game
averaging just under seven points.
Iowa made 12 of 26 shots overall and 5 of 11 3-pointers in the
first half, a respectable showing that normally would keep a team
competitive. But Michigan State left little margin for error. The
Spartans led by as many as 28 points in the second half.
”We played really hard,” McCaffery said. ”I thought at the
start of the game, we came out the right way. We had a good
beginning, but I thought it got away from us there a little bit in
the second half.”
It was a good bounce-back game for the Spartans, who closed the
regular season with losses to Indiana and Ohio State.
”Coach reminded us before the game,” Green said. ”I forgot
that we had two losses in a row. It’s a brand new season. I just
completely forgot about it, knowing that we were 0-0. We’re 1-0 now
and one step closer.”
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap