No. 16 Iowa routs No. 4 Michigan State 76-59, sweeps series
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Iowa proved it could beat, dominate in fact, Michigan State even with Denzel Valentine on the court.
Peter Jok scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half to help the 16th-ranked Hawkeyes build a huge lead that helped them rout the fourth-ranked Spartans 76-59 on Thursday night.
''Pete has that ability to get going,'' Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. ''We found him early and we kept going to him.''
Iowa (13-3, 4-0 Big Ten) humbled the Spartans for the second time in two weeks and defeated them on the road for the first time since 1993, ending an 18-game losing streak.
''To beat one of the best teams in the Big Ten on their home court is big,'' Jarrod Uthoff said. ''It doesn't matter what happened 23 years ago.''
Valentine had a relatively lackluster game with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds. He played in his second straight game since returning from a four-game absence while recovering from knee surgery.
''He's not back to normal,'' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.
Valentine watched from the bench on Dec. 29 when the Hawkeyes beat the then-top ranked Spartans 83-70.
McCaffery insisted it didn't make much of a difference to have Valentine on the court.
That was clear.
With or without Valentine, the Hawkeyes have shot better and hustled more than Michigan State.
''They made shots and they got every loose ball,'' Izzo lamented. ''It hurts me to admit it, but they did it twice. We're going to have to regroup.''
Michigan State (16-2, 3-2) was down by 22 points at halftime, its largest deficit at home since at least the 1996-97 season and its biggest anywhere in the regular season since trailing at Michigan by 23 points at halftime in 1997, according to STATS.
Jok made three of his team's nine 3-pointers in the first half and Anthony Clemmons connected on two shots beyond the arc, where he was making less than 30 percent of his attempts.
''I think Fran hit a 3 in the first half,'' Izzo joked without smiling.
McCaffery wasn't sure how his team would perform because it hadn't played since Jan. 5, when it beat Nebraska 77-66.
''I did not see it coming,'' he acknowledged.
Uthoff finished with 15 points after scoring his first points midway through the first half and grabbed 10 rebounds. Clemmons scored 13 points and reserve Dom Uhl had 10 for the Hawkeyes.
Clemmons, playing near his hometown, had eight points in the first half to help the Hawkeyes run their offense well even though point guard Mike Gesell played just 2 minutes before halftime because he had two fouls.
''His ability to play the point for (16) minutes with Gesell out was amazing,'' McCaffery said. ''I almost didn't take him out.''
Matt Costello had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans, who failed to make much of a run in the second half to potentially make the game competitive.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes have won six straight this season since losing at Iowa State and 10 conference games in a row, dating to last year, for the first time since the 1969-70 season.
Michigan State: Bryn Forbes got in foul trouble and couldn't overcome it, missing all five of his shots and making two free throws for a season-low two points. He entered the game averaging 14.4 points for the Spartans. Forbes scored just three points in the previous meeting at Iowa. ''Bryn struggles when people are physical,'' Izzo said.
Iowa hosts Michigan on Sunday.
Michigan State plays at Wisconsin on Sunday.
Clemmons, Valentine and Forbes, all of whom are seniors, helped Lansing Sexton High School win back-to-back state championships. McCaffery said he appreciates that Izzo welcomes Clemmons to work out at Michigan State's basketball facility with the Spartans in the summer.
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