EAST LANSING, Mich. — A second-half run initiated by stingy perimeter defense led Michigan State (15-10, 7-5 Big Ten) to a 77-66 win over Iowa (14-12, 6-7) on Saturday night at the Breslin Center.
Freshman Miles Bridges led the way with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Nick Ward added 14 points, Kenny Goins gathered 10 rebounds and Cassius Winston dished out five assists.
The fast-paced game gave viewers a handful of high-flying highlights, likely none more exciting than this Bridges alley-oop.
Why it happened
Michigan State played stingy defense, holding Iowa to 32.8 percent shooting overall and limiting Hawkeyes leading scorer Peter Jok to 13 points on 2-for-11 shooting. With their work on defense, the Spartans overcame 21 turnovers.
What it means
Michigan State won a game it needed. Tom Izzo’s squad has struggled on the road, and it needed to take care of a 6-7 conference team on its home floor.
Josh Langford. The freshman guard didn’t dominate. He didn’t lead the Spartans in scoring. But he did look as aggressive as he has all season. He took his shot when it was open, finishing with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, while continuing to defend as hard as ever.
Eron Harris. The senior guard looked sharp to start, finding ways to get good looks on offense and tightly guarding Jok. But as the game continued, he made several mistakes and ended up with five turnovers to go with six points.
Who was there
Former Michigan State pitcher and MLB All-Star Mark Mulder took in the game from a box seat. And in the crowd sat plenty of football recruits, including Michigan State wide receiver commit Cody White as well as a long list of 2018 football prospects that included 3-star wide receiver DaShon Bussell, 3-star linebacker Hugh Davis and 3-star offensive lineman Blaine Scott.
Who is next
The Spartans get another home game on Tuesday when they host Ohio State. The Buckeyes look to get back on track after an 86-77 loss Saturday at Maryland. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET.
Well-rounded offensive performance from Michigan State (besides the turnovers) and a nice job defending Peter Jok: pic.twitter.com/hCiY15ZWKb
— Luke Srodulski (@lsrodulski) February 12, 2017