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Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Impact 89FM | WDBM-FM

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Michigan State falls to Iowa in return to Breslin Center

MSU+graduate+guard+Tyson+Walker+%282%29+lays+the+ball+up+against+Iowa+on+Tuesday%2C+Feb.+20%2C+2024+at+the+Breslin+Center.
Jack Moreland
MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker (2) lays the ball up against Iowa on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at the Breslin Center.

EAST LANSING – Heading into Tuesday night’s game, optimism was as high as it had been in months for Michigan State.

That feeling proved to be fleeting. 

After a back-and-forth battle in the opening stages of the first half, Iowa dismantled MSU on both ends, sending the Spartans reeling into halftime with a 12 point deficit, and a strong dose of reality of life in the Big Ten. 

The Spartans had an assortment of uncharacteristic errors that stockpiled, including missed layups, defensive breakdowns, and missing half of their 14 free throw attempts, resulting in the 78-71 loss. 

“We’ll regroup,” said MSU head coach Tom Izzo. “Disappointed to lose a game like that at home, but we didn’t deserve to win it. They deserved to win it.” 

Iowa, one of the most prolific scoring teams in the country, seemed to get everything it wanted on offense. The Hawkeyes had three players score in double figures, while shooting 51 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free-throw line. On the night, Iowa recorded 40 points in the paint, including 13 layups. 

“It was all energy,” said Izzo. “We didn’t guard.”

MSU struggled to find answers against Iowa’s zone defense throughout the entire game, which utilized several unorthodox tactics that the Spartans hadn’t seen much of all season. 

“It was just a little weird, because it was kind of like a matchup zone,” said MSU graduate forward Malik Hall. “And they pretty much switched everything inside the zone, so it was a little hard to kind of get the looks that we wanted.” 

Even while playing behind for the game’s majority, Michigan State had numerous chances at a comeback, but couldn’t avoid continuous mistakes on both ends of the floor to capitalize. Iowa’s steady offensive output kept them ahead by at least five points the entire second half. 

Iowa junior forward Payton Sandfort (right) sinks a three-pointer over MSU junior guard Jaden Akins on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at the Breslin Center. (Jack Moreland) (Jack Moreland)

Junior forward Payton Sandfort led all scorers with 22 points and six rebounds in 38 minutes. 

Fifth-year senior Ben Frikke had a monstrous game for Iowa, recording 18 points and 14 rebounds, while going 7 of 11 from the field in 38 minutes. 

“[Frikke] was huge,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “He’s a terrific player, he’s a big time scorer, and I’ve been challenging him to rebound better.” 

For MSU, three players scored in double figures. Hall recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds, while going 7 of 13 from the floor. 

MSU graduate guard Tyson Walker lays the ball up against Iowa on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at the Breslin Center. (Jack Moreland)

Graduate guard Tyson Walker recorded 16 points and four assists, and senior guard AJ Hoggard had 15 points, 3 rebounds, and four assists after going scoreless in the first half. 

“We haven’t had many games where we just flat out didn’t bring it,” said Izzo. “Tonight, we didn’t bring it.” 

MSU is now 17-10 and 9-7 in conference play. The Spartans will take on Ohio State at home on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.

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About the Contributors
A.J. Evans
A.J. Evans, Sports Editor
A.J. Evans (He/Him/His) is the Sports Editor at Impact 89FM. He is from Southfield, Michigan and is majoring in journalism. He has covered football, women's and men's basketball for the Impact. “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase sky’s the limit….see you chumps on top.” - Biggie  
Jack Moreland
Jack Moreland, Sports Photo Editor
Jack (he/him) is a Journalism major focusing in sports reporting and media photography. Growing up in nearby Okemos, Michigan, he has been a lifelong Spartan and is proud to sport the green and white. Jack is a big Baby Keem fan and is known to post on your block with your wishlist on you.

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