Eighth-ranked Michigan State rallied from a 12-point deficit midway through the second half and beat Iowa 59-56 in the Big Ten quarterfinals Friday night in Chicago. The Spartans took their first lead with 4:10 left in the game on a three-pointer, part of a 22-2 run.
Iowa Coach Fran McCaffrey was clearly upset with the officiating down the stretch. “This team deserved a better fate tonight,” McCaffrey said in the postgame press conference.
But, McCaffrey said there were other factors that kept the Hawkeyes from pulling off the upset. “We turned the ball over too much…19 turnovers,” McCaffrey said. “We felt like coming in, we needed to turn it over less than we did the last time we played them. We had 18 (last time) and had 19. We needed to limit their offensive rebounds and they got 16. So, those two areas didn’t happen like we’d hoped.”
Adreian Payne led Michigan State with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Not a single Hawkeye scored in double figures. Mike Gesell led the way with nine points.
Iowa, at 21-12, is probably a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament. McCaffrey believes with the quality of the Big Ten and the way the Hawkeyes played late in the season, they deserve to be added on Selection Sunday. “I think it’s clear with what we have done that we should be in the NCAA Tournament,” McCaffrey said. “I respect the job the (selection) committee has and I know it’s difficult. I know there are a lot of other folks that feel the same way, but I think when you look at all of the numbers, I think they bare out that we should be in.”
The Spartans (25-7) will face Ohio State in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. The other semifinal will feature Indiana versus Wisconsin.