EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Tyson 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.