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Feb 19, 2024 2:50 pm

‘Up or down’ Iowa seeks consecutive wins with visit to Michigan State

Tony Perkins Iowa

Stuck in a win-one, lose-one rut during the last three weeks, Iowa will try to break the habit when it visits East Lansing, Mich., to face Michigan State on Tuesday night.

The Hawkeyes posted an 88-86 overtime victory against Wisconsin on Saturday. They haven’t strung together consecutive wins since collecting three in a row from Jan. 6-15. They also haven’t absorbed consecutive defeats since falling to Purdue on Jan. 20 and then Maryland four days later, with both of those defeats at home.

“It seems like we’re either up or down,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “It’d be nice to get a lead and keep it. But I think we all recognize this league, it’s kind of what it is. Everybody’s good. I say that all the time, but everybody has players, everybody has a coach that’s really good.”

The Hawkeyes’ Tony Perkins made the game-winning layup Saturday with 1.3 seconds left in overtime. He scored all but two of his 18 points after halftime.

“Tony took the second half over,” McCaffery said.

Iowa (15-11, 7-8 Big Ten) also got a big game from freshman Owen Freeman, who racked up a team-high 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. Payton Sandfort also had 18 points.

The Spartans (17-9, 9-6) have won three straight and eight of their last 10. They outscored arch-rival Michigan 10-0 in the final seven minutes of a 73-63 road victory on Saturday night.

“We’re not a perfect team. I haven’t seen many that are right now,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “We still did what we had to do. We won a game in a tough environment.”

Forward Malik Hall scored 18 points against the Wolverines. Hall has averaged 23.0 points over the last three games.

“He’s become a complete player, as steady as you can be,” Izzo said.

Despite the recent upswing, Izzo feels his team needs to turn it up a couple more notches to make noise in the postseason.

“I’m still looking for consistency,” he said. “And I’m going to look for it maybe the whole year. Maybe it’ll come.”

–Field Level Media

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