EditorsNote: Moved Nick Ward — with a career-high 26 points on 10-of-10 shooting — into the lede
No. 10 Michigan State scored efficiently as Nick Ward — with a career-high 26 points on 10-of-10 shooting — led four players in double figures on Monday night against No. 18 Iowa in East Lansing, Mich., but the Spartans’ stalwart defense made the difference.
Back on their home court for the first time in two weeks, the Spartans shut down the Hawkeyes from beginning to end, limiting Iowa to 32.8 percent shooting on the way to a 90-68 victory.
The Spartans (7-2, 2-0 Big Ten) were solid defensively in the first half, but in the second, they were suffocating, forcing the Hawkeyes to miss 19 of their first 20 shots. Iowa managed just one field goal — a 3-pointer from Jordan Bohannon — over the first 10:21 of the second half.
As the defense was stifling, Michigan State extended its 10-point lead at the break to 33 with 8:35 to play on a dunk from Nick Ward.
That was a familiar scene, as Ward led Michigan State offensively while Kenny Goins also established a career best with 19 points, and he grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out seven assists. Xavier Tillman had 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Joshua Langford scored 14 points, and Cassius Winston had eight points and 12 assists.
Iowa (6-2, 0-2) finished shooting just 27 percent, 10 of 37, in the second half. Tyler Cook scored 15 to lead the Hawkeyes while Isaiah Moss scored 13 and Bohannon added 11.
Winston was held in check on the scoreboard for most of the first half, but did compile eight assists to lead the Spartans. Ward was the beneficiary on the low block, scoring 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting.
It all helped the Spartans put together an 11-3 surge late in the half that turned a 28-26 lead into a 39-29 advantage with 2:21 to play. The Hawkeyes kept the deficit from growing by getting to the line, but Ward added another jump hook and Winston hit a pair of free throws to give Michigan State a 43-33 lead at halftime.
—Field Level Media