Michigan State 95, Iowa 61 -- The Winning Streak Has Its Quinceanera

Coming into this game, Iowa committed turnovers 17.3% of the time, 17th best in Division One. Tonight against Michigan State, the Hawkeyes turned the ball over on 21 of their (approximately) 75 possessions. That's 28% of the time, and many of those turnovers were converted into fast break MSU points. Combine that with a hot shooting night from the Spartans, and 95-61 is the final. That's the most thorough victory for the Spartans in conference play I can remember in quite some time, and it pushes the victory streak to 15.

MSU won this on the back of some very hot shooting: 10-18 (55.6%) from three and 27-42 (64.3%) from two. There were a couple lucky shots here and there, but most of the accuracy can be credited to great ball movement to the guards for open threes (Nix had at least two passes out of the post that were converted) and fast break baskets of turnovers. Player bullets follow:

  • Draymond Green -- 22 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 turnover. Ho-hum. Another game, another stat line filled by Day Day. He was a deadeye today (3-4 from three, 9-12 on field goals) and had a ferocious alley oop in the first half that he might not have been able to pull off a year ago.
  • Keith Appling -- 15 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 0 turnovers. Possibly the best night Appling's had so far in the point guard role, as he was able to find the open man and still drive to the basket. In November I said that Appling should move back to the two full time and have Brandon Wood take over PG duties. That seems silly right now.
  • Brandon Wood -- 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 turnovers. Wood had a very good first half and then disappeared in the second half save for one nice alley oop. If it's to give him rest, all for the better.
  • Austin Thornton -- 8 points, 2 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 turnover. If Thornton can hit a couple threes for MSU and give this kind of performance every game for State, they'll be in very good shape.
  • Adriean Payne -- 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 turnovers. Payne's hands of stone came back in a big way today. Not the best of efforts for hiim, but still managed to do some good things.
  • Derrick Nix -- 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers. He'll most likely be remembered from this game for the dumb technical foul he took for getting in an Iowa player's face after a made dunk, but Nix had two nice passes out of the post to wide open guards on the perimeter.
  • Brandan Kearney -- 5 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers. Kearney had the best two minute stretch of his young career when he had a steal, a pass on the money for a Day Day alley oop, and a block on the other end. He seems to know what he's doing out there, and he's 15-20 pounds of muscle away from being very good in the Big Ten.

Everyone else was decent -- Gauna continues to look like he has potential, and although Branden Dawson was quiet he had a couple of nice passes on the interior, something I hadn't seen from him before. All in all a fine showing, and the Spartans have a head of steam going into Evanston on Saturday.

More notes:

  • Boy, that Fran McCaffery gets excited. In his defense, I probably would've tried to hurl that chair to the upper deck if I were him.
  • Iowa did have some good moments -- Melsahn Basabe had the dunk of the game, dribbling under the basket, beating a defender then one handing the ball home. I also think Aaron White is going to be a very, very good player in the mold of Robbie Hummel. I have no idea why he comes off the bench.
  • Does anyone know why the Izzone was singing lullabies and nursery rhymes? It's a good start, but if you really want to mess with a free throw shooter, start with the Alphabet song and segue into "I'm On One". The cognitive dissonance could cause the shot to go over the backboard.
  • Mark Hollis texting during the game? Eh, he's probably got work to do working out a football game in Wembley Stadium or a basketball game on the moon vs. the Monstars.
  • It feels so, so good to watch a team this together after last year. I've said it before, but I'm going to keep reminding myself of it each game, because it's been a long time since we've an MSU team be so rough the year before and so smooth the next.
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