IOWA CITY, Ia. – Innocent, said Aaron White.
“I don’t think I got him,” Iowa’s sophomore forward said.
White was called for a foul on a 3-point attempt by Michigan State’s Gary Harris with just over a minute remaining and the Hawkeyes leading by three. Harris made all three free throws, and No. 22 Michigan State rallied for a 62-59 victory Thursday before an announced crowd of 12,872 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“You can’t foul the 3-point shooter there,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after his team fell to 0-3 in the Big Ten and 11-5 overall.
White’s foul was preceded and followed by equally big plays. Plays that improved Michigan State’s record to 2-1 in the Big Ten and 13-3 overall. With Iowa in front, 56-53, Keith Appling missed a 3-pointer. But Branden Dawson, who scored a game-high 17 points for the Spartans, tapped the offensive rebound back out to Appling .
“We get that rebound, I think we win the game,” McCaffery said.
Appling got the ball to Harris, who was fouled by White with 1:04 remaining.
“I was just trying to contest him,” White said. “I thought I got the ball. Maybe I got a piece of his hand.
I don’t know what to say. They called it. I’d prefer they didn’t.”
Iowa’s next possession was a disaster. Mike Gesell’s pass to Zach McCabe on the left wing was picked off by Dawson, whose dunk gave the Spartans a 58-56 lead.
“That was a critical turnover at a critical point that I wish I could have back,” Gesell said.
Iowa freshman Anthony Clemmons, who is from Lansing, Mich., went to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game with 12.4 seconds remaining. He made the first, but missed the second. He also made 1-of-2 3 seconds earlier, but rebounded his own miss.
Appling made two free throws with 8.9 seconds left for Michigan State’s three-point advantage. Clemmons airballed a forced 3 just before the buzzer. And McCabe slammed his fist into a chair on the Iowa bench.
“We were one rebound away from winning the game,” McCabe said. “I hate losing.”
Iowa played without leading scorer Devyn Marble, who sprained his right ankle in practice Monday and couldn’t go. McCaffery called him “iffy” for Sunday’s game at Northwestern.
McCabe stepped up with a season-high 15 points, and Melsahn Basabe added 14.
“It was one of those games I’m not sure anyone deserved to win, or anyone deserved to lose,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
McCaffery was outspoken about his team’s lack of toughness on offense, and hinted at displeasure over the officiating. The Spartans were called for their first foul of the game with 8:26 remaining in the first half.
Asked how Marble’s absence affected his team, McCaffery said, “It was tough, offensively, to get the kind of rhythm we needed. They’re a very physical defensive team. And you need a guy who can break his man down and get to the rim and get to the free-throw line. Of course, I don’t know if anybody would have gotten to the free-throw line tonight, apparently.”
Iowa had a 12-point lead, but scored on just one of its last 15 possessions the rest of the half for a 28-24 halftime lead. Offensive execution didn’t improve much the second half.
“Offfensively, we played with no toughness,” McCaffery said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball