EAST LANSING, Mich – Iowa had not won at the Breslin Center since 1993 but the Hawkeyes came in loaded for bear against 4th-ranked Michigan State. Perhaps the Hawkeyes were tired of hearing about the drought.
Denzel Valentine was back in the starting lineup for MSU for the first time since his knee surgery but to be blunt, no Spartan player really stood out on this night.
Former Lansing Sexton star and Denzel’s high school teammate, Anthony Clemmons, slips inside there for 2.
The play of the night for MSU: Eron Harris with a stutter step and baseline drive the for the slam. The spectacular dunk had the boys on the bench fired up.
After that it was all Iowa; Peter Jok added a 3 and an 11 point lead.
The Hawkeyes hit 60 percent of their 3’s in the first half. Anthony Clemmons for 3; the kid came home and scored 13 points..
Tom Izzo could barely stand to watch this. His team was never really in it.
Iowa scored 17 points off turnovers and the Spartans only 3 that way.
Jok again for the open slam and Iowa led by 22 at the half.
Second half was not much better. Spartans did score here off a turnover, the only 3 points the Spartans got this way, Denzel with the 3 and he scored 14.
With two minutes left Denzel hit a little 1-hand push shot to cut the lead to 13 but that’s as close as the Spartans would get and Mike Gazell puts the nail in the coffin.
Iowa wins it 76 to 59 for the first sweep of the Spartans in 22 years.
It’s a big win for Hawkeyes’ coach Fran McCaffrey.
“I told Fran after the game I thought for years he was tough but I didn’t think his teams were as tough and I just think they play harder. I mean..they made shots,” explained Spartan head coach Tom Izzo. “And got every loose ball. It seemed like there were some weird calls, yet I laugh because I’m complaining about it. It’s just what you learn in the 5th grade; the more aggressive team gets things, and they did.”
“When you’re the underdog you’re gonna play with a little chip on your shoulder. Everybody had them losing here,” said Spartan Denzel Valentine. “And stuff like that, they are gonna make those shots and we gotta make them feel uncomfortable we didn’t make them feel uncomfortable and just let them do whatever they wanted to do and they dictated our offense.”
MSU forward Matt Costello said “We’re not helping our team enough. We’re worried about our own man and that’s across the board that’s not one man and that’s me included i played very poorly defensivly on helping people so we gotta pick that up.”