Saturday , Mar , 11 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Iowa topples Michigan State to reach Big Ten final

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Jeff Horner netted 14 points to help No.
20 Iowa defeat Michigan State, 53-48, in a defense-dominated Big Ten
Tournament semifinal showdown at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Greg Brunner added 12 points and five rebounds while Mike Henderson finished
with 11 points and three steals for the Hawkeyes (24-8), who will face either
Indiana or Ohio State in the final.

Maurice Ager scored a game-high 21 points to pace Michigan State (22-11),
which was coming off an upset win over nationally-ranked Illinois in the
quarterfinals. Paul Davis posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards
for the Spartans, who shot only 28.3 percent from the field.

Iowa trailed by three at the half and fell behind 27-22 after Davis made a
couple of free throws in the opening minute of the second frame. The Spartans
were held off the scoreboard for the next four-plus minutes, however, allowing
the Hawkeyes to move within one.

Iowa went up 30-29 with 12:32 remaining on a Henderson layup, and held a
slight edge the rest of the way.

Ahead just a pair with about five minutes to go, Brunner and Adam Haluska went
a combined 3-for-4 from the charity stripe on consecutive possessions to make
it 40-35.

Ager sank a jumper with 2:58 remaining to cut Michigan State’s deficit to four
and had a chance to move his team even closer the next time down, but his shot
would not go down. Brunner grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and hit both
ensuing free throws to put Iowa up 44-38 with 1:47 left.

The Hawkeyes assumed their largest lead at 48-40 with under a minute to play
following Haluska’s layup, and held on the rest of the way.

The Spartans scored the first eight points of the contest and extended their
lead to 15-4 with 12:22 remaining after Shannon Brown drained a three-pointer.

The Hawkeyes countered with an 11-0 burst, capped by a Brunner lay-in with
5:06 left, to knot the game at 15-15.

Michigan State finished the half up 25-22. Both teams struggled mightily from
the field in the opening 20 minutes, as Iowa shot 39 percent while Michigan
State converted just 33 percent of its field goal attempts.

Game Notes

Iowa won its lone Big Ten Tournament championship in 2001…The Hawkeyes and
Spartans split a pair of meetings during the regular season…MSU is now 10-7
all-time in the Big Ten Tournament…Michigan State still leads the all-time
series, 56-50…Haluska ended with nine points and five rebounds.