The Iowa Hawkeyes used a solid defensive effort as they downed 24th Michigan State 62-60 in their Big Ten opener. The Hawks led by as many as 12 points in the second half and made their free throws down the stretch to hold off a Spartan comeback attempt.
Senior guard Mike Henderson made five of six from the charity strip but coach Steve Alford says it was his defense against Michigan State guard Drew Neitzel that was the biggest key. Alford says Henderson made Neitzel work for everything he got.
With the win the Hawkeyes improve to 9-6 overall. Alford says the home games have helped them build some confidence, and getting a win against a top 25 team is pleasing.
Iowa forward Cyrus Tate had his best games of the season. He finished with 14 points on six of seven shooting and also had nine rebounds. Alford says the coaches believe in Tate who hasn’t had a good two to three week stretch. Alford says Tate’s a junior college sophomore who has been trying to adjust to a new type of game.
The Hawkeyes are off until next week when they visit Illinois.