Iowa takes down No. 1 Michigan State
IOWA CITY — Down goes Michigan State.
The Iowa men's basketball team stifled No. 1 Michigan State en route to a 83-70 win Tuesday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
Iowa (10-3, 1-0 Big Ten) never trailed in the Big Ten opener, at times dominating the Spartans (13-1, 0-1).
The victory was the first for the Hawkeyes over a No. 1 team since 1999 (Connecticut), and the first time they played a top-ranked opponent since 2013 (Indiana).
“We really sustained effort and paid attention to the game plan,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
Iowa built a 19-point lead midway through the second half and led by 14 at halftime.
Most of the production in the opening period came without top player Jarrod Uthoff, who remained on the bench after being charged with his second foul only 6:25 into the game.
Mike Gesell led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 25 points. Peter Jok added 19 points. Nicholas Baer and Uthoff also notched double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Michigan State attempted to make a comeback in the final minutes, but never narrowed the deficit to less than double digits.
“It never got under 10,” McCaffery said. “That’s critical. All of a sudden it gets under 10, then it’s pretty much a three-possession game.”
Michigan State played its second-straight game without Denzel Valentine, who leads the Spartans in scoring and rebounding. Valentine is out with a knee injury.
In Michigan State’s first contest without Valentine — a 99-93 overtime win over Oakland Dec. 22 — Bryn Forbes stepped in to score 32 points. On Tuesday, the Hawkeyes neutralized Forbes, who scored only three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Actually, aside from Eron Harris (21 points) and Matt Costello (17 points), the entire Spartans’ roster was neutralized.
“Iowa played awfully well,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “This was one of the rare times in my career I thought we got pummeled. We got outphysicaled. We got outhustled. They got every loose ball. They got rebounds.”
For the third straight year, Iowa opened Big Ten play with a win in its opener.
Perhaps upending the No. 1 team in the nation in the process carries a little more weight, though.
“It’s the first game in the Big Ten season,” McCaffery said. “Celebrate tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”