MSU 71, Iowa 69: Four takeaways from the Spartans’ overtime victory

The last perfect home record in the Big Ten has fallen.


Michigan State topped Iowa 71-69 in overtime Tuesday night, handing the Hawkeyes their first home loss of the season and rebounding from the toughest loss of the 2013-14 campaign to date.


Here are four things to takeaway from MSU’s overtime win:


1.     Sensational sophomores

Sophomores Matt Costello and Denzel Valentine each played major roles in the Spartans’ victory. Costello finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds while Valentine scored 12 points of his own. Costello was a nuisance for the Hawkeyes underneath the rim and had an important tip-in to give the Spartans their first overtime lead. Valentine rebounded from possibly his worst game of the year in a loss to Michigan with several important second half baskets.


2.     The Spartans are not healthy, but not completely broken either

The absence of Adreian Payne, Branden Dawson and a 100 percent Keith Appling was glaring at times. But contributions from younger players like Travis Trice, Costello and Valentine gave the Spartans the edge. MSU can only get better as its key veterans return and the confidence of its role-players rises.


3.     Sometimes, the least likely candidate turns into the hero

Redshirt junior Russell Byrd scored his only three points when he drilled the proverbial dagger into Iowa’s heart with 30 seconds left in overtime to give MSU a 70-64 lead. Byrd’s smile was beaming as he jogged down the court and his Spartan teammates, stunned as any of us, congratulated him on possibly the biggest shot of his career thus far.


4.     When Gary Harris touches the ball, good things happen

Gary Harris touches the ball, Gary Harris scores the ball. Rinse, lather and repeat. After MSU’s heartbreaking loss to UofM Harris said he felt he was not aggressive enough down the stretch. Harris finished with just nine points against Iowa, but the offensive threat he poses gets his teammates opened. The opposition has to give his offensive potential respect, and after Tuesday night’s win the Spartans are also due a greater deal of respect.

  • Bob

    It was an unfair contest, Iowa kept using that new, undisclosed, amazing, dazzling type of defense that the Spartans have never seen :O) I think they called it a “press”.

  • Sloop John V

    MSU is overrated. Harris, Appling and Payne are legit. The rest are ho hum at best. McCaffrey gave away the game last night along with the refs. #10 for Iowa was fouled as he released his game-tying layup that came up short. No call. Izzo always gets the marginal calls or in this case no call. Glad UM put it to ’em in Lansing. Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin all better than MSU. Spartans and Buckeyes can battle for fourth place in the Big Ten. That is unless Minnesota or Indiana sneaks up and steals it from them.

    • IR5

      The refs made the right call at the end. After letting Iowa shoot 43 free throws they got one right. MSU is not overrated. They are the best in the BIG- and, will make the final four while Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin get ready for golf.

  • August

    Appling hurt? Plz do tell why when in the Izzone he repeatedly slapped his hands on the court? Ifyour wrist hurts so bad, would you do that? Not!!! State fans are whinners! Players are tough! Fans not so much!