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No. 4 men's basketball erases second-half deficit to top Iowa

February 6, 2018
Spartans huddle up during the game against Penn State on Jan. 31, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 76-68.
Spartans huddle up during the game against Penn State on Jan. 31, 2018 at Breslin Center. The Spartans beat the Nittany Lions 76-68. —
Photo by Sylvia Jarrus | The State News

Freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr. started off the game against the Hawkeyes easy, throwing down dunks on MSU’s first two possessions of the contest, but Tuesday night in Iowa City was nothing but easy for the Spartans.

The men’s basketball team (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten) erased a eight-point second-half deficit to take down the Iowa Hawkeyes (12-14, 3-10) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 96-93, to win its seventh consecutive game.

The Spartans had a scorching start and stayed hot for much of the game. The team shot 56.1 percent from the floor and continued its recent hot shooting from 3-point territory, connecting on 47.1 percent of its attempts from beyond the arc against the Hawkeyes.

MSU had a 10-2 advantage on the scoreboard coming out of the gate, but despite the fast start by the team and Jackson, the Hawkeyes hung around in the early going.

Sophomores Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon scored 11 and eight points respectively in the first half to help keep Iowa within striking distance.

MSU led by as many as nine in the first half, but took a 48-42 advantage over the Hawkeyes into the intermission as Iowa freshman forward Luke Garza knocked down an off-balance two-point jump shot with eleven seconds left in the half.

Sophomore forward Miles Bridges scored 15 in the first half and the Spartans shot 59.3 percent on first half field goals.

Despite MSU extending its lead back up to nine points coming out of halftime, the Hawkeyes wouldn’t go away. 

Due in part to the Spartans picking up their sixth team foul at around the 15 minute mark, Iowa outscored registered a 14-point turnaround after the Spartans obtained their largest lead of the game.

A jump shot by Cook made the score 65-64, giving Iowa its first lead of the game.

The Hawkeyes stayed in front of the Spartans for much of the rest of the way, extending their lead to as many as seven points, until redshirt junior forward Kenny Goins connected on 3-point shot to give MSU a 90-89 advantage with just over two minutes left.

Cook, who finished with 26 points on the night, scored a jump hook off the glass on the following possession to Iowa back on top, but the Spartans ultimately closed out the Hawkeyes from the free throw line with Bridges and sophomore guard Joshua Langford going perfect from the charity stripe on the team’s final three offensive possessions.

Bridges finished with a team-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, followed by sophomore forward Nick Ward with 17 and Langford with 15.

Next up on the schedule for MSU is a high profile matchup with No. 3 Purdue (23-2, 12-0) on Saturday at the Breslin Center. 

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