Written by Rick Coleman, Sports Director - bio | email
IOWA CITY (KWWL) -
Michigan State had every reason to fold.
The seventh-ranked Spartans were coming off a draining loss to rival Michigan and again were down two starters to surging Iowa -- which was hosting its biggest game in years.
Michigan State responded with the toughness it has shown so often under coach Tom Izzo and emerged from Iowa City with a season-defining win.
Keith Appling scored 16 points and the Spartans outlasted No. 15 Iowa 71-69 in overtime Tuesday night, handing the Hawkeyes their first home loss.
"I was concerned coming in whether we could get back up off the can. Not physically, we were going to be beat up. I was worried about mentally," said Izzo, whose team fell to the Wolverines 80-75 on Saturday. "We didn't have time to be tired."
Matt Costello had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Spartans (19-2, 8-1 Big Ten), who avoided consecutive defeats despite the absence of injured starters Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson.
But it took 5 extra minutes -- and an Iowa shooting drought that lasted nearly 15 minutes -- to pull it off.
Costello's tip-in with 1:14 left gave Michigan State a 67-64 lead, and Russell Byrd's 3 with 34 seconds put Michigan State up by six.
Iowa still had a chance to force a second overtime, but Mike Gesell missed a driving layup at the buzzer.
Devyn Marble had 21 points for Iowa (16-5, 5-3), including a layup with 6 seconds left in overtime that snapped the Hawkeyes' streak of 14:50 without a field goal.
"I just didn't think we were tough enough. We weren't tough at all," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "I think they were being nice."
The Hawkeyes boast one of the nation's deepest benches, and they kept threatening to run away from the undermanned Spartans early in the second half.
Michigan State wouldn't let it happen.
The tough-minded Spartans had an answer for nearly every basket that could have swung the momentum back in Iowa's favor.
Iowa led 57-51 with 5:58 left, and its crowd began to sense the win. But Appling -- with his shooting wrist heavily taped -- hit a 3, and a layup and dunk by Costello made it 58-57 Spartans.
"We have guys that want to win," Appling said. "I feel like this win speaks volumes of the character of our team. We have a lot of guys that are able to dig down and compete. And at the end of the day I feel like that's what gave us the victory."
The Hawkeyes had a chance to win in regulation, but Marble missed a runner just before the buzzer.
That was a theme that doomed the Hawkeyes.
Aaron White had 10 points for Iowa, which lost despite hitting 19 more free throws than Michigan State.
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