EditorsNote: fixes “on its” in sixth graf; fixes to “19” in last graf
Cassius Winston scored 23 points, and Nick Ward added 21 points and 10 rebounds as No. 6 Michigan State used a huge second-half run to beat No. 19 Iowa 82-67 at Iowa City for its 13th straight win.
It was a remarkable turnaround, as Iowa controlled the game early in the second half, taking an eight-point lead less than five minutes into the period. But Winston nailed two consecutive 3-pointers, igniting a 24-2 run that flipped control of the game and helped the Spartans (18-2, 9-0 Big Ten) remain unbeaten in the conference and in sole possession of first place.
Luka Garza scored 20 points to lead Iowa. Tyler Cook scored 17 and Nicholas Baer chipped in 10 for the Hawkeyes (16-4, 5-4).
Despite turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, Michigan State managed to lead most of the way, even with Xavier Tillman playing only 2 1/2 minutes after picking up two quick fouls. The Spartans’ biggest advantage was six after Ward hit a pair of free throws to put Michigan State ahead 21-15 with 9:28 to play in the half.
But the Hawkeyes slowly chipped away and went ahead 24-23 after a Garza layup with 6:44 left on the clock. Michigan State quickly reclaimed the lead and pushed the advantage to 29-26 before Iowa finished with a flurry, getting three 3-pointers in a row to cap a 9-0 run and lead 35-29 with a little more than a minute to play.
Winston hit a pair of free throws with 38 seconds to play as neither team converted on its final possessions, sending the Hawkeyes to the locker room with a 35-31 lead.
Iowa kept rolling to open the second half, pounding the ball down low to Cook, who scored 11 points in the first five minutes of the half to help the Hawkeyes appear to take control, pushing their lead to 50-42. But Michigan State came to life at that point as Winston hit two straight 3-pointers to ignite a 14-0 run for the Spartans.
By the time Ward capped off a three-point play with 12:12 left in the game, the Spartans were up 56-50. After a Garza bucket ended Iowa’s nearly five-minute drought, McQuaid nailed his second straight triple to give the Spartans a 59-52 lead with 11:24 left in the game.
The Spartans kept their foot on the gas, flipping the game completely as three free throws from Winston with 10:15 to play gave Michigan State a 66-52 lead and finished off the surge that effectively took the crowd out of the game.
The Hawkeyes never mounted a serious threat from that point as Michigan State’s lead grew to 19 in the final minutes.
—Field Level Media