Iowa City, IA
Facing a different team tonight, but for the Spartans, it was the same result. The #6 Michigan State Spartansimproved their record on the year to 18-2 (9-0) with an 82-67 blowout win over the #19 Iowa Hawkeyes. It was the Spartans 21st straight Big Ten regular season conference win. Improving their current school record.
Joshua Langford remained out for his 7th straight game missed. Spartan Nation broke the story on Tuesday that Langford was shooting and playing one-on-one in practice this week, but he remained in the boot for tonight’s game.
The Spartans were led by Cassius Winston who had 23 points and seven assists. Nick Ward was the only other Spartan in double digits. He actually had a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Tom Izzo said, “It’s hard to explain my team sometimes. This is one of those times we did not make good plays in the first half. Iowa missed some shots early, that they normally make. They’ve been shooting the ball so well. I am really impressed with Fran’s team. At halftime, I felt like (Matt) McQuaid wasn't looking for his shot. He is my shooter and wasn’t looking for his shot. Nick (Ward) was letting the ball go inside so easily. We struggled a little bit because of my wings, those freshmen, it was a helluva of an atmosphere tonight, it’s helluva of place.”
Tom Izzo added, “At halftime (Aaron) Henry wasn’t very good. At halftime, it was his turn to hear about it. It was something new for him. Struggled with it, but Joshua Langford did the most unbelievable job with those young kids at halftime. It was worth everything taking him on this trip. Second half he (Aaron Henry) played a lot better and McQuaid looked for his shot more. I was impressed by how he responded.”
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery was visibly frustrated after the game, but said of Cassius Winston, “He's just a really good player. That kid is a special player. He keeps his dribble, he looks for people, and he kind of picks his spots, when to shoot the ball. His shooting percentage from three is tremendous. He makes big shots in very important situations. He's really consistent at doing that and controlling the game. That's why they're where they are, and you've got to give him credit for that. He's a tremendous player.”
The Spartans shot 53% from the field including 42% from the three. The Spartans shot an astounding 95% (21 OF 22) from the free throw line and had 16 assists on 27 baskets.
The Spartans led the battle of the boards 42-26. Disappointingly, the Spartans had an obnoxious 19 turnovers.
Izzo played 14 players including all five of the five freshmen. Thomas Kithier the true freshman big had six points, five rebounds and played his best game by far of his young career.
McCaffery added, “The atmosphere was great. Our fans are phenomenal. They always are. The students showed up in full force. I appreciate that. The players appreciate that more than anything. It was loud in here, and that's what you want.”
Kyle Ahrens went down with 8:45 remaining in the game. He had missed some games recently with back spasms. This was his second game back. He did not return after back tightened up.
The Spartans return to Big Ten action against Iowa on Sunday at 1:00 at the Purdue Boilermakers. The game is on CBS.
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