Michigan State started to chip away at Iowa’s rock-solid defense. The offense hit a wall. Call after call seemed to go against the Hawkeyes. And a golden opportunity for an NCAA Tournament bid might have disappeared into the United Center night air.
No. 8 Michigan State went on a late 22-2 run to erase a 12-point Iowa lead and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament with a 59-56 victory Friday at the United Center.
Devyn Marble’s 3-pointer to tie the game with 5 seconds to play bounced off the rim, and Iowa had suffered its seventh loss to a Big Ten team this season by four points or less or in overtime.
Spartans coach Tom Izzo, whose team improved to 25-7, said his team found a way to “luckily, luckily win.”
Late in the game, apparently upset with a series of calls that went against his team in the second half, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery flung his suit coat in anger. After the game, he acknowledged that 19 Iowa turnovers and 16 Michigan State offensive rebounds were problematic.
But McCaffery hinted that the officiating also played a factor. Afterward, he said his team deserved a better fate. Asked if the officiating had something to do with what he said, McCaffery remained silent for a long time before whispering, “Yeah, that’s part of it.”
Iowa’s freshman point guards, Mike Gesell and Anthony Clemmons, had eight turnovers between them against the Spartans’ hands-on defense. Six of those miscues came in the second half.
Asked if youth had something to do with the loss, McCaffery said, “It had nothing to do with it. Nothing to do with it. Nothing. At. All. To do with it.”
Gesell tweaked his right-foot injury during the second half and was hampered down the stretch.
“But the thing that hurts most is the loss right now,” Gesell said.
The loss gave Iowa (21-11) a 0-7 record against Top25 teams this season.
“Frustrating, to be that close,” Iowa’s Aaron White said. “A turnover here or there, an offensive rebound we gave up. We’re that close to being a top-15, top-20 team, to be honest with you.”
McCaffery said his team deserves to be in the NCAA field.
“I think it’s clear we should be in the NCAAs,” McCaffery said.
This was Michigan State’s sixth consecutive victory over Iowa. Three of them have come in the Big Ten Tournament.
Iowa led for the first 36 minutes of the game, and had a 47-35 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
“In general, Iowa outworked us for three-fourths of that game, and deserved to be in the position they were in,” Izzo said.
Everything for Iowa unraveled after Marble was called for an offensive foul with 8:40 to play. The Spartans went on a 22-2 run to take a 57-49 lead.
A 7-0 Hawkeye run cut the deficit to 57-56 with 1:03 remaining. But White was called for a foul on Gary Harris’ shot attempt with 29.4 seconds left. Harris made both free throws.
Iowa got off two 3-point attempts to tie the game — Melsahn Basabe missed the first 3-point attempt of his career. And then, after an offensive rebound, Marble’s closely contested 3 from the left wing bounced off the rim and time ran out.
“I definitely believe Iowa is a team that deserves to be in the tournament because of how they have played and what they have done and how they played last night and how they played the last eight or nine games,” Izzo said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball