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Freshmen lead Michigan State past Iowa

Feb 26, 2009 - 5:11 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- A pair of freshmen helped Michigan State stay atop the Big 12 Conference.

Delvin Roe scored a season-high 16 points and Korie Lucious had a season-best 12 as the ninth-ranked Spartans defeated Iowa, 62-54, on Wednesday.

Goran Suton chipped in nine points for Michigan State (22-5, 12-3 Big Ten), which leads Purdue (10-4) by 1 1/2 games in its pursuit of the school's first regular-season Big Ten title since 2001.

Michigan State looked sluggish at times but had enough to cruise past Iowa, which has lost 10 of its last 13 games.

"They make you play in a way that we did not play very well at," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "They did a good job in every way they could do it. I would say you'd have to classify us as kind of dysfunctional, offensively. It's just been a struggle with (Durrell) Summers out and poor Raymar (Morgan). He's getting better - he's able to go now, but he's just not making enough shots."

Lucious made three consecutive 3-pointers early in the game as Michigan State held a 22-11 advantage with 9:45 left in the first half.

The Hawkeyes got within six but the Spartans scored the final four points of the half and took a 32-22 lead into the locker rooms.

Michigan State started slowly in the second half and Cyrus Tate converted a three-point play to bring Iowa within 41-35 with 11:40 to play.

"We just did not play very good, not very inspired," Izzo said. "We played like we didn't respect the team we were playing and that happens. It happens with the way they play - it's a hard team to play against. They have had games in the Big Ten that have been somewhat blowouts, but that's no excuse for how we played. I'm disappointed in how we played, to be honest with you."

Jake Kelly's jumper cut the Hawkeyes' deficit to 48-43 but the Spartans answered with the next six points - all from the free-throw line - to take an 11-point advantage with 5:57 to play. Iowa never got closer than eight the rest of the way.

"Well, it was going to take a nearly perfect game, but it was going to have to be extremely well-played," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said about his team's chances. "We were going to have to make open shots and not miss any. We were going to have to manage keeping them off the glass. They're a terrific team, well-balanced, unselfish, well-coached.

"A great team but I thought our guys fought for the most part the best they could all night and hopefully we walk out of here a better team."

Michigan State forced 16 turnovers and outrebounded Iowa, 33-19.

Kelly scored 20 points to lead the Hawkeyes (14-14, 4-11), who shot 6-of-21 from the arc.

The Spartans' leading scorer, Kalin Lucas, scored a season-low four points on 2-of-6 shooting.

"I don't know if he's looking for (shots) as much," Izzo said. "I think he's trying to find that happy medium about making some passes and making some shots. I'm sure he was the lead guy in their scouting report.

"But we didn't get our break going and that's where he gets some of his, so I thought he did a good job of trying to feed the ball to people, but he wasn't as involved in the game either and that hurt us some too."