Thursday night was senior night at the Breslin Center, but it was the sophomores and juniors who stole the show as Michigan State beat Iowa, 86-76.
Travis Trice was 4-5 from the field and led the Spartans with 17 points off the bench. Denzel Valentine looked well on his way to a triple-double in the first half, but finished with 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
The game got off to a torrid, but sloppy pace. Both teams had four turnovers in the first three minutes of play, but shot a combined 7-9.
Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble looked unstoppable in the first half. He had 16 points on 7-10 shooting in the half. The Spartans shut him down in the second half and Marble finished with 24 on 9-17 shooting.
Michigan State shot 54 percent from the field and 63 percent from three-point range, but struggled with nine turnovers in the first half. Iowa shot just 47 percent from the field in the first half and led 41-39 at the break.
The Spartans came out possessed in the second half. They went on a 9-0 run to start the half despite picking up five fouls before the 17:30 mark. MSU went up by as many as nine in the first nine minutes of the half, but Iowa battled back everytime Michigan State looked like they were going to pull away.
Then at the 10:30 mark, with his team up by five, Trice went on his own personal 8-0 run with two threes and a runner as the shot clock expired to put the game away for the Spartans.
“Trice was phenomenal,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said after the game.
Michigan State improved their shooting in the second half, finishing just over 58 percent from the floor and almost 59 percent from three.
Appling showed that he might be back to his pre-injury ways. The senior was more willing to drive to the hoop and hit his first three since January.
“At halftime we really challenged Keith,” Izzo said.
On whether or not he’s 100 percent, Appling said, “I feel like I’m all the way back.”
The Spartans finish the regular season this Sunday on the road as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Tip is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Andrew Hayes is the host of Impact Izzone for Impact Sports.
Photo: Scott Wasserman/Impact Sports