The last time the No. 10 Michigan State men’s basketball team faced No. 18 Iowa, the Spartans barely walked out of Iowa City with a 96-93 victory. This time around, on Monday night, MSU had a much easier time on the court. The Spartans (7-2) downed No. 18 Iowa (6-2) by a score of 90-68 to win their second Big Ten game of the young season.
"Well, I’ve got to admit, a shocking game for me," coach Tom Izzo said after the game. "I thought both teams started out kind of sloppy, we both looked tired I thought. Now they (Iowa) had to bounce back from a tough loss at home. We’ve just been on that brutal road schedule, it didn’t seem like a lot of things were going well. Kenny (Goins) was struggling early and then we got our break on them a little bit. Started getting the ball inside, and that made a big big difference."
Iowa got off to a hot start out of the gate, getting ahead of MSU 9-4 at the 17:47 mark in the half, thanks in part to a pair of 3-point baskets by guard Isaiah Moss. However, the Spartans clapped right back, rattling off an 13-8 run over the next five minutes to draw the score back to even at 17 a piece.
It wasn’t until later in the half when the Spartans were able to create some space on the scoreboard as a 14-7 run pushed the score to 33-26 in favor of MSU with just under four and a half minutes left in the first half. The Spartans continued to maintain their distance through the remainder of the half, as they went into the break up 43-33.
The Spartans went on a 9-0 run to start the second half, continuing their roll and going up 52-33 with 16:40 left in regulation. The Spartans’ shots kept falling in the half, creating an even bigger margin on the scoreboard as they pushed their lead to an even 30 points just before the 10-minute mark.
Though Iowa was able to finish the last five minutes of the game on a 14-9 run, it was too little too late for the Hawkeyes, as the Spartans cruised to a 90-68 win, improving to 2-0 in conference play.
"We did the things we wanted to do," Izzo said. "You have 28 assists on 31 baskets, that’s unbelievable. But I think at halftime, I don’t know, whatever number of baskets we had, we had one short of assists."
The Spartan offense was paced by their big men, as forward Nick Ward went 10-for-10 from the floor to accumulate 26 points to go along with nine rebounds. Tillman added 14 points of his own while also putting eight rebounds. However, Goins really filled out the stat sheet, dropping 19 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, while also dishing out seven assists on the night.
“I think we really made a statement with just the overall score,” Goins said after the game. “As far as the Big Ten goes, you’ve got to win all of your home games if you’re going to ultimately win the Big Ten, and that’s always been our end goal. So, it’s a step in the right direction, we’ve just got to keep going.”
For their next game, the Spartans will be traveling down south over the weekend to take on Florida (4-3). Tipoff is scheduled for noon Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.