Iowa City, IA
The #4 Michigan State Spartans extended their winning streak to seven games and their overall record to 23-3 (11-2 Big Ten) with a brutal come behind win over the Hawkeyes tonight 96-93. It was a tough battle.
Miles Bridges had 25 points, four rebounds and four assists to lead the Spartans. Nick Ward had 17 points while only playing 12 minutes. Jeremy Langford had 15 points and freshman star Jaren Jackson, Jr. (3J) dropped 11 points and grabbed five rebounds to round out the double-digit scorers.
The Iowa team played their best game of the season while hosting #4 Michigan State and it was their game of the year. The crowd helped bring the emotion and an exhausted Spartan team found a way to win. On the road in the Big Ten. While certainly not playing their best, there are no apologies for a road win in this league. Especially when playing their fifth game in 12 days.
Tom Izzo said of his Spartans performance, “We are not playing as well but neither are a lot of people. These are the dog days. These are were the freshman hit the wall and all those things happen. I bet I could trade my team with a lot of coaches. I bet I could bet a lot of them trade with me right now. They would like to have my guys. They would like to have a 23-3 record. So I am going to enjoy that. I have been as honest as I can with you. I have told you I am not happy, but I am pleased that we looked at a couple of things that we made big deals about and turnovers, rebounding, shooting and ball movement and we did a better job of that.”
The Spartans shot an amazing 56% but allowed the Hawkeyes to made 52% of their shots. MSU had 10 turnovers compared to eight for the Hawkeyes and the Spartans won the battle of the boards 34-30.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of the contest, “I thought they (Hawkeyes) really fought. I mean I’m really proud of the fight. I thought the effort consistently was there. For the most part, the effort is usually there, but it was execution. We only had eight turnovers against a really good defensive team.”
The Spartans had 10 players see action and nine of them scored. MSU had 20 assists on 32 baskets and the Spartans shooting 24 of 29 from the charity stripe made the difference.
Izzo added, “That team is as good as any that we have played offensively and have struggled on defense. I hope you enjoyed the offensive fireworks tonight because I don’t think any team played defense. I will be honest with you. The five games in 12 days as really taken a toll on us. I thought we were walking on our knees. I thought today we were beat both mentally and physically and I am going to take a win in a tough place to play against a team that played their tail off tonight. We are taking a day off tomorrow. The coaches and players need a day to get away.”
The #4 Spartans return to the friendly confines of the Breslin Center for their next game. It is the biggest game of the season thus far for the #4 Spartans as they take on #3 Purdue. If that Spartans have a hope of winning the Big Ten they must win this game. That game can be seen on ESPN and tips off at 4 PM ET.
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