After a back and forth affair, Michigan State crept past Iowa 63-61 on Thursday night. With the win, the Spartans move to 6-4 in conference play and 14-7 overall.
After dropping the game to Indiana in the second half on Sunday, Michigan State was looking to get back on track with a win against the Hawkeyes.
A major highlight for the Spartans was senior forward Malik Hall's return from injury. During Head Men's Basketball Coach Tom Izzo’s weekly press conference on Tuesday morning, he said he was uncertain when Hall would return or not.
However, on his radio show Thursday night, Izzo announced that senior forward Malik Hall would see the floor against Iowa.
It was clear that the green and white’s most versatile player was missed. Hall went on to play 24 minutes and finished with 11 points against the Hawkeyes.
MSU struggled to get on the board in the first five minutes of play. Iowa was up 10-0 when senior guard Tyson Walker knocked down a three, shortening the Hawkeye’s lead to seven and putting MSU in the game.
Hall followed suit, clinching his first basket since suffering an injury at Illinois. Hall went on to record a team-high seven points in the first half, including a dunk with 4:52 to play, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Junior center Mady Sissoko started to heat up midway through the first. He finished off Walker’s missed layup with an impressive dunk, something the crowd hasn't seen from him in quite a while.
On the boards, MSU outrebounded its opponent, 18-17 in the first half. The Spartans also managed to stay out of trouble with turnovers, picking up 4 compared to Iowa’s 6 after twenty minutes.
Despite efforts to stretch their lead, MSU barely managed to stay ahead of the Hawkeyes 30-29 at the half.
Walker and Iowa junior guard Ahron Ulis were gifted technical fouls to start the second half, after exchanging words on the court. Ulis led the Hawkeyes with 17 points and three assists.
Spartan turnovers got in the way of MSU's end of the first half offensive momentum. The green and white collected four turnovers in the first five minutes of play.