Spartans Come Up Short at Home, Fall to Hawkeyes 78-71

Photo credit: Aaron J. Thornton

Michigan State looked to win their 9th of 11 games and secure their spot in the NCAA tournament as they hosted Iowa at the Breslin Center last night. Unfortunately for the Spartans, it was the Hawkeyes that came out red hot, shooting over 57% in the first half to build a lead and get the victory in the end.

Missed layups and missed foul shots also didn’t help the home team. Michigan State blew more than six layups in the game. Those twelve points along with seven missed free throws would have made a difference. The Spartans were also plagued with foul trouble with their bigs. Starting big man Mady Sissoko picked up his second foul early in the game and sat for most of the first half. Reserve Center Carson Cooper was also hit with his second foul midway through the first half and went to the bench. After being down by four points with 10:32 remaining, then Iowa went on a 15-1 run and led at half time by twelve.

Michigan State made an effort to come back in the second half of the game, cutting the lead to six and then later to five points with about two-and-a-half minutes left. But with each Spartan run, the Hawkeyes came up with stops of their own and kept MSU from getting any closer. When the final buzzer went off, the visiting Hawkeyes walked off the court with a 78-71 triumph over Tom Izzo’s Spartans.

Iowa had a double-double performance from big man Ben Krikke who scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the game. Payton Sandfort of the Hawkeyes led all scorers in the game with 22 points. MSU had three players in double figures in the game. Malik Hall and Tyson Walker both had 16 points while Guard A.J. Hoggard added 15 points of his own.

With the loss, the Spartans fall to 9-7 in the Big Ten (17-10 overall) and will host the Ohio State Buckeyes (15-11) at home on Sunday, Feb 25.  Iowa (16-11) will have another tough road game ahead of them as they battle the #12 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini (19-6) on Saturday, the 24th.

Final Score: Iowa 78 – Michigan State 71

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