The final margin of victory doesn’t look all that bad. Michigan State 86, Iowa 76. But it wasn’t that close on senior night for the Spartans at the Breslin Center.
In its second game back to full strength after playing the bulk of the conference season missing Branden Dawson and also playing without big man Adreian Payne at times, No. 22 Michigan State looked like a team to be feared in the postseason.
Michigan State played the final 10 minutes leading by double digits, including an 18-point lead at one point. It made more than 58 percent of its shots in the game.
The 24th-ranked Hawkeyes, who have lost four of their past five games and are likely to be unranked going into the Big Ten tournament, were frustrated watching another one slip away.
It was too much for forward Zach McCabe.
McCabe and Michigan State guard Travis Trice became tangled up at the elbow near the baseline in front of the Iowa bench with 4 minutes, 45 seconds left. Neither gave ground or tried very hard to free his arm from the other and McCabe finally tossed his smaller opponent to the ground with a little help from a trip over his left leg. (Check it out in the Loop below)
Officials said play already had been stopped with a double foul call just before McCabe threw Trice to the floor. McCabe was also issued a technical foul which resulted in him fouling out.
Michigan State’s Russell Byrd was ejected from the game for leaving the bench to try to assist Trice, who was bleeding from his wrist after McCabe poor decision. Trice led the Spartans with 17 points.
Roy Devyn Marble scored 24 for the Hawkeyes but didn’t much help. Aaron White didn’t score his first points until there were 15 minutes left in the game.
After the ugliness was sorted out and play resumed, Michigan State produced a few memorable moments. Tom Izzo subbed out most of his starters and seniors at one point allowing them to be acknowledged by the home crowd.
Izzo also directed Denzel Valentine to throw the ball out of bounds with 1 minute remaining in order to get senior walk-on Dan Chapman into the game. Chapman turned the ball over, but his teammates worked to get him a clean look at a 3-pointer that he missed.
Izzo then subbed for Chapman so he could experience his own ovation. Before leaving the court, he leaned down to the floor in pushup position and kissed the Spartan logo at midcourt.
It was a memorable senior night for a Michigan State team that seems to be healthy and coming together at the right time.
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