Strong start leads No. 25 Iowa men’s basketball to blowout win over Michigan State

The Hawkeyes beat the Spartans by 26 points at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday night with a final score of 86-60.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Keegan Murray attempts a fadeaway during a men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena between No. 25 Iowa and Michigan State on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. Murray led Iowa in scoring with 28 points. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 86-60.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

On the night his No. 55 jersey was officially decommissioned by Iowa Athletics, ex-Hawkeye men’s basketball player Luka Garza got to watch his former team beat Michigan State, 86-60.

Iowa Athletics also formally retired the jerseys of three now-deceased Iowa men’s hoopers: Roy Marble, Murray Wier, and Chuck Darling.

“Just to see [Garza and Marble’s son Devyn] on the court gave us a lot of confidence about this game and ourselves and we brought it,” Hawkeye sophomore forward Kris Murray said postgame.

From the opening tipoff to the final buzzer, the Hawkeyes dominated the Spartans. Iowa raced out to a 14-4 lead just four and a half minutes into the contest.

Sophomore forward Keegan Murray knocked down his first two 3-point attempts on his way to 18 first-half points.

The Hawkeyes led the Spartans by 15 at halftime.

Iowa’s lead ballooned to be as large as 32 points in the second half. The Spartans, however, cut that number down to 26 before the game ended.

Counting Tuesday’s victory, the Hawkeyes have now won five of their last six games.

“Our consistency on offense, pushing, moving and sharing the ball and defensively challenging on the glass, [has been the key to success]” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. 

Big picture

Iowa is now 19-8 overall and 9-7 in Big Ten play. 

With the victory on Tuesday, Iowa passed both Michigan State and Michigan for sixth place in the Big Ten standings.

Three point prowess 

Several Iowa players hit timely shots from beyond the arc on Tuesday night as the Hawkeyes finished with a 42 percent conversion rate from the 3-point line.

Two 3-pointers from senior guard Jordan Bohannon pushed Iowa’s lead from 11 to 17 points seven minutes into the second half.

To finish off the Spartans, Kris Murray nailed three triples in a two-minute span to expand Iowa’s lead to 26 with nine minutes left in the contest.

Kris Murray finished 3-for-5 from beyond the arc — tying a career-high.

Getting to the line

Iowa took consistent trips to the free throw line on Tuesday night, going 18-of-20 from the charity stripe.

Keegan Murray went 6-of-7 from the line, while senior forward Filip Rebraca went 4-for-4.

The Hawkeyes also stayed out of foul trouble with 12 personal fouls between 14 players who saw the floor. The Spartans only had four chances from the free throw line, making two.

“We know who Michigan State is, and if you’re not [physical], they are going to come back on you,” McCaffery said. “You have to be able to match the physicality and intensity.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes will head to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers on Friday. Tip is set for 8:07 p.m. on FS1.