Friday, April 12, 2024

'We were in quicksand:' MSU men's basketball falls to Iowa 78-71 in first home loss since December

February 21, 2024
<p>Michigan State graduate forward No. 25 Malik Hall questions the outcome of his match against the University of Iowa at the Breslin Center on Feb. 20, 2024. Michigan State lost to the University of Iowa 78-71.</p>

Michigan State graduate forward No. 25 Malik Hall questions the outcome of his match against the University of Iowa at the Breslin Center on Feb. 20, 2024. Michigan State lost to the University of Iowa 78-71.

Photo by Jonah Brown | The State News

The Michigan State men's basketball team logged its first home loss since Dec. 5, falling 78-71 to Iowa after never fully recovering from its 12-point deficit at halftime.

There was a lot wrong with Michigan State's performance Tuesday night, but the most glaringly obvious problem with its game was a lack of oomph.

The game started off back-and-forth, but Iowa grabbed a firm lead heading into halftime, up 45-33. At different points in the second half, it looked like Michigan State might just flip the script, but that flip never came. 

Every time MSU brought the game within a handful of points, the Spartans would make preventable mistakes that allowed the Hawkeyes to continue taking off with the lead. After every turnover or missed shot, the Spartans seemed to lose steam bit by bit. 

"I think we were in quicksand," head coach Tom Izzo said. "We haven't had a game all year where we really just didn't bring it—and I really mean that. We've had some bad starts. You think at Wisconsin, we competed more. We just didn't, we missed guard-guard switches today that they got two layups on—it's the most simple basic thing you could do. And, that means maybe we're more mentally tired than I realized."

MSUvIowa.MensBball_JB.12

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo expresses his frustration with the referee at the Breslin Center on Feb. 20, 2024. Michigan State lost to the University of Iowa 78 - 71.

The Spartans usually thrive when driving to the basket, but in the matchup against the Hawkeyes, Iowa had twelve more points in the paint than MSU. The Spartans had no defensive answer to the 40 points the Hawkeys put up there, including 13 layups and three dunks. 

"(Iowa) absolutely killed every one of our post guys," Izzo said. "I have to come up with something better on that. We haven't had that happen. And it was just layup after layup ... that's hard to beat. Not many teams come in here and shoot that against us."

Oddly enough, three-point shooting was the highlight early on for the Green and White. Michigan State has been plagued all season by poor shooting from beyond the arc, but the team notched ten buckets from deep.

While the treys were falling in the first, Michigan State's problems in the paint were glaringly obvious, as they scored just four points from two dunks in the first 20 minutes. The Spartans had eight missed layups throughout the course of the game from their veteran players, who normally hit those shots from in the paint. 

"We got to play better (and) we got to coach better," Izzo said. "I should have made a couple of adjustments that I blame myself on. But, a player's got to play too. And like I say, when you miss that many layups and that many easy switches against a team, that’s a good team."

Michigan State will be back in action at home against Ohio State on Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Breslin Center. The game will be aired on CBS. 

"We'll regroup," Izzo said. "Disappointed to lose a game like that at home. But, we didn't deserve to win it—they deserved to win it and they did win it."

Support student media! Please consider donating to The State News and help fund the future of journalism.

Discussion

Share and discuss “'We were in quicksand:' MSU men's basketball falls to Iowa 78-71 in first home loss since December” on social media.