Hawkeyes stun Spartans

On3 imageby:Tom Kakert02/20/24


Fueled by a 15-1 run in the later stages of the first half, the Iowa basketball team successfully went into one of the toughest venues in the Big Ten and left with a convincing 78-71 victory over Michigan State. Iowa was paced by Payton Sandfort, who scored 22 points, and forward Ben Krikke, who had 18 points and a season high 14 rebounds.

This marks back to back Quad 1 wins for the Hawkeyes as they try to build a resume to get consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Iowa is now 16-11 on the season and they move to 8-8 in Big Ten play. Meanwhile, Michigan State falls to 17-10 overall and 9-7 in league play.

Like they have in several conference games this season, Iowa started strong. This time they learned the lessons from the past and held on. The Hawkeyes also did it without many minutes from freshman center Owen Freeman, who played only eight minutes in the game.

Freeman did start strong, scoring the first four points of the game. But, then he picked up two fouls within the first three minutes of action and spent the rest of the half on the Iowa bench. His replacement, Ladji Dembele, nailed a three point field goal to give Iowa a 7-5 lead in the contest.

Michigan State made four early three point field goals. A pair of them were from Tyson Walker and the second one knotted the contest at 11-11. Then a triple out of the timeout by Trey Holloman put Michigan State up 14-11. Jaden Aikins drilled a triple from the side and MSU’s lead was 19-15.

The two teams went back and forth for the middle portion of the first half. Patrick McCaffery came in off the bench and provided a spark for the Hawkeyes. He had 12 points in the first half and that included five in a row to give Iowa a 24-21 edge.

Then the Spartans came out of a timeout and went on a 6-0 burst that was capped by another three from Holloman and they lead 27-24. That was the last lead the Spartans would see.

McCaffery continued his scoring binge with five straight points to get the Hawkeyes 15-1 run underway. Payton Sandfort knocked down a three. Krikke scored five straight and then Pryce and Payton Sandfort hit three pointers and suddenly, Iowa was up 45-33 at the break.

The run was going to come from Michigan State in the second half and it did, but Iowa never allowed the game to get into a single possession contest in the final twenty minutes. Freeman started the second half, but quickly picked up two fouls to send him to the bench with four in the game.

Malik Hall scored back to back baskets to cut Iowa’s lead to 54-46, but Tony Perkins threw in a driving layup and the Hawkeyes were back up by ten once again. Walker and Jaden AIkins hit three point field goals to pull the Spartans to within seven on two occasions, but Perkins, who had eight points in the game, answered with an old fashion three point play to get the lead back to double figures at 62-52.

A.J. Hoggard hit a three and the lead was back to seven again at 66-59 and the Spartans were pickup up momentum. But, the backbreaker that may have sealed the game was a screen and cut to the basket by Sandfort for an easy layup and a 70-59 lead. From there, Iowa salted away the game from the charity stripe. Iowa finished the game 18-23 from the foul line and salted away the victory over Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes will be back on the road on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Champaign to face the Fighting Illini. Game time is 1:15 pm and it will air on the Big Ten Network.

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