EAST LANSING, Mich. - Freshman Keith Appling pulled through for Michigan State on Senior Night, scoring 18 points to help the Spartans beat Iowa 85-66 Wednesday night in their last scheduled home game.
Michigan State (17-12, 9-8 Big Ten) has won four of six to improve its shot of earning a 14th straight NCAA tournament bid. The Spartans play rival Michigan on Saturday in a matchup of teams on the bubble.
"Our subs really helped us with Austin (Thornton) and of course Nix and Payne and Appling hitting those shots were so big," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "He really has been working on his shooting."
Michigan State's Kalin Lucas scored 17 and Draymond Green had 12 points, sandwiched around an early-game ankle sprain and foul trouble.
"It was a good team win because we probably wouldn't have had won the game without our bench," Izzo said. "With all that being said, Draymond hardly played and I look at the stats and he's just stuffing it. He went 4-for-5, 1-for-1, 3-for-4, eight rebounds, 12 point, five assists, one turnover and only played 16 minutes. He never really was involved in the game, if you ask me. That speaks volumes in that respect too."
Durrell Summers was back in the starting lineup as an homage to his senior status. He played 25 solid minutes, scoring 7 points. He couldn't quite get his perimeter shots to fall, going 3-for-8 from the field, with all buckets coming from within five feet. He had three rebounds and was functional on defense.
"We couldn't get Durrell a bucket there for awhile but he did go to the boards a little harder and did some things there and took it to the whole a couple times," Izzo said.
The Hawkeyes (10-19, 3-14) have lost six straight games in the conference for a second time under first-year coach Fran McCaffery.
The Spartans took control with an 11-2 run midway through the second half, building a big lead they easily maintained.
Melsahn Basabe and Matt Gatens each had 13 points, Bryce Cartwright scored 11 and Jarryd Cole added 10 for the last-place Hawkeyes.