FINAL: Spartans win pivotal matchup against Iowa, stop Jok, 77-66
Taking the court for the first time since Tuesday night's 29-point blowout loss to the University of Michigan, MSU (15-10, 7-5 Big Ten) defeated the University of Iowa Hawkeyes (14-12, 6-7 Big Ten) at home Saturday in a pivotal game in conference play by a final score of 77-66.
The Spartans held Hawkeye senior guard Peter Jok, the Big Ten's leading scorer in conference games, to 13 points. Bridges led the way for the Spartans with a game-high 16 points.
Iowa scored the first two baskets of regulation before freshman forward Miles Bridges scored on an alley-oop dunk from Nairn and took an uncontested 3-point shot from the left corner to give MSU its first lead of the game.
The Hawkeyes tied the game up at 13 apiece with just over 12 minutes left in the half partly because of five Spartan turnovers in under three minutes with scores from forward Cordell Pemsl and guard Christian Williams.
Two-straight triples from forwards Dom Uhl and Nicholas Baer gave Iowa the brief lead before sophomore guard Matt McQuaid tied the game at 19 with a free throw. A fake-look pass from redshirt-sophomore Kenny Goins found Bridges to give MSU the 24-23 lead with 5:56 until halftime.
By the end of the first half, Iowa hung on to a 32-31 lead in part of 13 points forced on 12 MSU turnovers. Bridges was the only player to score in the double-digits with 14 points as the Spartans shot 41.9 percent from the field with four 3-point baskets. Pemsl and freshman forward Tyler Cook each led the team with five points, while the Hawkeyes shot 35.3 percent with two 3-pointers on 10 attempts.
The second half started with a putback dunk from Bridges, and back-to-back scores from freshmen Nick Ward and Josh Langford gave MSU a four-point lead in the early stages of the half. With just under 14 minutes left in regulation, baskets from fifth-year senior guard Eron Harris and two triples from freshman guard Cassius Winston gave MSU a six-point lead.
Another layup from Ward and a 3-point basket from senior wing Alvin Ellis III extended MSU's lead to nine points, forcing Iowa to take a timeout with just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
During a two-minute scoring drought fo Iowa, MSU extended its lead to 12 points, thanks to a pair of free throws from and a layup from Ward.
A 3-point basket from Baer momentarily cut MSU's lead to single digits, but a jumper from Langford extended the lead to 11 with 7:39 left to play. Jok landed awkwardly after Langford's basket trying to grab the defensive board and would limp off the court favoring his left leg. A media timeout was taken and Jok would return with 6:50 to play.
Iowa missed its last four field goal attempts to fall into a 15-point deficit after Ward snapped a scoreless streak spanning 2:03 with 3:53 left to play. Foul trouble put Iowa into double-bonus and in turn made it a 10-point game with two minutes left to play. Winston made both free throws on a 1-and-1 foul to extend the Spartan lead to 12.
MSU finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the field with nine triples, and went 10-for-14 from the free-throw line while Iowa shot 32.8 percent with four 3-point baskets.
- Points: Bridges (16)
- Rebounds: Bridges (11)
- Assists: Winston (5)
- Points: Jok/Cook (13)
- Rebounds: Pemsl (7)
- Assists: Jok (8)
The Spartans will play the Ohio State University Buckeyes next on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 9 p.m.