Michigan State edges Iowa 63-61 with late buckets

Iowa guard Connor McCaffery recovers the rebound next to Michigan State forward Malik Hall...
Iowa guard Connor McCaffery recovers the rebound next to Michigan State forward Malik Hall during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)(Carlos Osorio | AP)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 9:26 PM CST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tyler Walker and Jaden Akins hit big baskets down the stretch and Michigan State defeated Iowa 63-61 on Thursday night.

Walker came back onto the floor after leaving for a few minutes with a foot injury and immediately hit a long 2-pointer for a 61-59 lead with 1:24 remaining. A half-minute later, Akins sank a short jumper for Michigan State’s largest lead.

Iowa (12-8, 4-5 Big Ten) edged within two on Connor McCaffery’s basket and got the ball back after Hoggard missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Payton Sandfort missed a pair of 3-point attempts.

Akins finished with 12 points, Walker and Mady Sissoko had 10 points each with Sissoko pulling down 10 rebounds for the Spartans (14-7, 6-4). Joey Hauser had three 3-pointers and 11 points and Malik Hall returned after a three-game absence to score 11. Hall, bothered by a left foot injury all season, has only played in 10 games.

Ahron Ulis scored a career-high 17 points, Filip Rebraca had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kris Murray, averaging over 21 points per game, had 11 for Iowa.

There was only one double-digit lead and that came after Iowa scored the first 10 points while the Spartans were missing their initial nine shots. Michigan State led 30-29 at halftime.

Neither team led by more than six in the second half. Over the final six minutes the Hawkeyes were 1 of 8. The Spartans missed five straight shots before Walker and Akins connected.

Iowa came in with the Big Ten’s highest-scoring offense at nearly 82 points per game but ran into a Spartans team giving up under 66.

The win snapped the Spartans’ three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes. It was also their fifth win in their last six games while Iowa has lost two straight.