MSU sophomore Branden Dawson led the way with a career-high 17 points as the No. 22 Michigan State Spartans (13-3, 2-1) squeaked past the Iowa Hawkeyes (11-5, 0-3) 62-59 in Iowa City.
Michigan State trailed Iowa the entire game until junior guard Keith Appling hit a challenging layup with 9:01 left in the game. That jump started a 7-3 run by the Spartans giving them a 48-45 lead with 6:19 left.
The Hawkeye took back the lead when Zach McCabe hit a three-pointer with 4:21 left giving them a 51-49 lead. Iowa extended that lead to four points when junior Melsahn Basabe hit a layup with 2:16 left, which forced MSU to call a timeout.
The Spartans came out of the timeout scoring 11 points in the final two minutes to secure a tough Big Ten road victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Hawkeyes freshman Anthony Clemmons — high school teammate of MSU freshman Denzel Valentine at Lansing Sexton — missed the second of two free throws with 12 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Despite shooting 23 percent from the floor, Appling scored 12 points and added six rebounds and four assists. Freshman Gary Harris was terrific from outside as he went 3-of-5 from beyond the arc for 14 points.
Iowa was without their best player, Michigan native, Roy Marble who missed the game with an ankle injury. Junior Zach McCabe picked up the slack in the absence of Marble, and scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Basabe scored 14 points which is eight points above his season average of 6.3 and his second highest scoring total of the season.
The Spartans are usually the losers in the battle of the turnovers, however, tonight they forced 18 Iowa turnovers compared to their 12. Guard Mike Gesell and Clemmons each had four turnovers each, leading the way for Iowa, and Valentine had five for MSU.
MSU junior big man Adreian Payne has been non-existent thus far in Big Ten play, but played well on the offensive end tonight. Payne scored 10 points on 5-of-7 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Aside from Payne’s production, the Spartans didn’t get much help from their bench tonight. Travis Trice, Russell Byrd and Alex Gauna combined for a shooting percentage of 14 percent (1 for 7) from the field.
The Spartans will host Nebraska on Jan. 13.