EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Cassius Winston scored 19 of his 20 points in the second half and Rocket Watts matched a career high with 21 points, helping No. 24 Michigan State rally to beat No. 18 Iowa 78-70 Tuesday night.
The Spartan (19, 9, 11-6 Big Ten) moved into sole possession of second place in the conference, 1 1/2 games behind No. 9 Maryland, with their third win in four games.
The Hawkeyes (19-9, 10-7) started the night tied for second in the Big Ten and ended it slipping to sixth place, possibly making an impact on their seeding for the conference tournament in two weeks.
Iowa’s Luka Garza scored 20, Ryan Kriener had 18 points before fouling out late in the game and Connor McCaffery added 11 points.
Aaron Henry scored 17 points, one shy of his season high, for the Spartans.
Winston had only one point in the first half and Xavier Tillman did not score before halftime after going to the bench early in the game with two fouls.
Without Michigan State’s top two scorers producing, Iowa controlled the first half and was up 33-27 after 20 minutes.
Winston bounced back in the second half and his team did, too. The senior All-America point guard set up Tillman for a go-ahead basket in the lane midway through the second half.
Henry put the Spartans ahead for good at the free throw line with 4:17 left. They held onto a late lead after wasting one in the final minutes of their last home game against Maryland.
The Spartans have an opportunity to make a big jump in the poll if they can also beat the ninth-ranked and first-place Terrapins on the road this week. The Hawkeyes will have a chance to hold their position if they can bounce back with a win over No. 16 Penn State.
Iowa: Garza can’t do it alone if the Hawkeyes are going to have a successful season and he had help at Michigan State with Kriener and McCaffery scoring in double digits.
Michigan State: Watts and Henry contributed offensively, an encouraging sign for a team that needs more than just Winston and Tillman to score.
Iowa: Hosts No. 16 Penn State on Saturday.
Michigan State: Play at Maryland on Saturday night.
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