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Roughed Up Late: Iowa Falls To Spartans In Big Ten Quarters

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CHICAGO, Ill. Iowa wanted to send a statement with an exclamation point, but it was sent packing with a question mark.

In a must-win game with postseason implications, Iowa collapsed yet again under the weight of its turnovers and tough foul calls in a tight game away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes surrendered a 13-point, second-half lead and lost 59-56 to No. 8 Michigan State at United Center.

The Spartans (25-7) overpowered the Hawkeyes (21-12) on a 22-2 run late in the second half, then withstood a furious late Iowa run to win a grueling Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal. Michigan State faces Ohio State in a Big Ten Tournament semifinal today.

"We found a way to luckily, luckily, win," Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo said.

Down three points with 21 seconds left, Iowa attempted two 3-pointers. The first was by forward Melsahn Basabe. It fell short, but Iowa secured the rebound and Devyn Marble took his shot, but Michigan State's Adreian Payne rebounded for the win.

The loss sends Iowa's NCAA tournament hopes spiraling downward and its postseason destination is undetermined. The Hawkeyes likely needed a win to advance from bubble consideration to NCAA tournament contender. Instead it was yet another loss that was completely winnable.

Iowa led by 13 early in the second half and then by 12 with 10:24 left in the game. Then Michigan State's grinding offense attacked, and Iowa could muster no answers. After clinging to a four-point lead with 5:17 left, Iowa's Anthony Clemmons misfired on an open Aaron White near the basket that would have stemmed the Michigan State run and push Iowa's lead to six.

Michigan State took advantage on its next two possessions. An alley-oop dunk attempt from Payne that went astray was nullified on a foul call on Basabe. Payne hit both free throws to bring the Spartans within two points.

"I thought the ball was already out of bounds and (the official) called it," Basabe said. "I don't know what I could have done there. I didn't touch him.

"I'm not making any comments toward the officiating. You have eyes. Everyone has eyes to see what's going on."

Marble followed on Iowa's next series by stepping on the baseline. Michigan State countered with a Gary Harris 3-pointer to take its first lead at 50-49.

Michigan State extended its lead to eight points, scoring on seven straight possessions. But Iowa rallied, first with two Zach McCabe free throws, then Eric May stole the ensuing inbounds pass. White scored inside and was fouled. He knocked down the free throw to bring Iowa within three.

Michigan State's Denzel Valentine tossed the inbounds pass out of bounds, and Iowa inched closer when Basabe scored inside with 1:02 left, bringing Iowa within 57-56.

After a Michigan State timeout, the Spartans worked down the shot clock. Harris rose up for a jumper, and White attempted to block it, getting both the ball and Harris' arm. Harris sank two free throws to move the Spartans ahead 59-56.

"It was one of the most physical games I've ever been in," Michigan State point guard Keith Appling said.

The Hawkeyes committed 19 turnovers, one more than in the teams' previous meeting in January. The Spartans beat Iowa 62-59 in that game and have won six straight against the Hawkeyes.

Payne led all scorers with 18 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds. Appling and Harris each scored 13 points.

Ten different players scored for Iowa. Basabe scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Mike Gesell led Iowa with nine points.

Iowa's first-half defense stifled the Spartans. Michigan State shot just 26.7 percent from the field (8-of-30) and all but a handful of shots were contested. The Spartans missed all eight 3-point attempts and were outscored 13-0 in bench points.

Iowa, however, shot 50 percent (10-of-20) in the half. Eight different players scored in the first 20 minutes, highlighted by Gesell's six points.

On the second half's first possession, Marble swiped the ball from Appling, tossed it ahead to Gesell for a layup. Appling fouled Gesell, who sank the ensuing free throw to give Iowa a 33-20 lead.

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