Michigan State starts quick, downs IowaFeb 24, 2008 - 12:38 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- The last time No. 17 Michigan State saw Iowa, the Spartans were embarrassed. On Saturday, it was the Hawkeyes' turn.
Raymar Morgan scored 16 points and Drew Neitzel added 12 for Michigan State en route to 66-52 victory over Iowa in Big Ten Conference play on Saturday.
The win gave Tom Izzo his 300th career victory as the Spartans' coach.
"I wanted to tell the audience that if I could live to 100, I only have 600 more to catch (former Texas Tech coach) Bobby (Knight), so I'm not really worried about that," Izzo said. "He'll be safe from Tom Izzo, I can promise you that.
"I think what I'm proudest of is not the 300 wins ... but I think I'm proudest of the fact that I don't care where you look, we never backed down on our schedule. No matter what people say, when you look around the country over the past 12 or 13 years, it's been one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country."
Michigan State (22-5, 10-4 Big Ten) was riding an 11-game winning streak and was the nation's sixth-ranked team when it visited Iowa on January 12. After taking an 18-9 lead with 8:02 left in the first half, the Spartans failed to score again before the break and managed just 18 points over the remainder of the game in a 43-36 loss.
It was a school record for the lowest total of points in a game during the shot clock era for the Spartans.
"This was one of those games that was an important game; that loss down there hurt us in a lot of ways," Izzo said.
This time, however, Iowa (12-16, 5-10) could not find its offense, at least early on.
"I told my team just now that I slept well for one night because I really felt they were ready to play," Izzo said. "They came out and played awfully well early. We went in with the fact that we wanted to bring some energy and we did; we wanted to put some pressure on them and we did; we wanted to be good defensively and we were great."
Neitzel scored all nine of his first-half points during a game-opening 20-1 run that left the offensively-challenge Hawkeyes - the lowest scoring team in the Big Ten - in a huge hole midway through the first half.
"It's a tough team to spot 19 (points against)," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said. "I thought we got some decent looks early but (they) didn't go. We only got one; they made sure of that. We just had too many miscues, but give them credit. ... It looked really bad. I thought we weren't going to get to double digits before halftime."
Cyrus Tate sparked a 17-7 stretch with eight points to bring the Hawkeyes back to a single-digit deficit at 27-18, but the Spartans closed the first half with four straight points to establish a 31-18 advantage.
Neitzel opened the second half with a 3-pointer to begin a 7-2 run that gave Michigan State a 38-20 lead at the 17:56 mark. While Neitzel did not score again, Morgan picked up the scoring load, posting all but two of his points in the second half.
Iowa could get no closer than 14 points the rest of the way, largely because Michigan State committed a season-low five turnovers, including just one in the final 20 minutes.
"They were very efficient offensively," Lickliter said. "There is a reason why they are rated where they're at, and they are as good as they are. They play very well together. They complement one another."
Tate finished with 26 points for the Hawkeyes, who dropped their 13th straight road game against the Spartans.
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