Spartans Take over Sole Possession of First Place in Big Ten
January 21, 1999
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State took over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten as reserve Morris Peterson scored 19 points and the 11th-ranked Spartans rolled to an 80-65 victory over No. 14 Iowa on Thursday night.
Dean Oliver and Guy Rucker each scored 12 points for the Hawkeyes (13-3, 4-2), who lost for the second time after an 11-game winning streak.
It was the fourth straight win for the Spartans (15-4, 4-1), yet it looked like Iowa might run them right out of Breslin Center early. Jess Settles scored six straight points as the Hawkeyes took a 19-4 lead over the opening 7:33.
Michigan State was so out of synch the Spartans didn't take their first shot until 2:32 had been played. It was 3:19 before the made one.
But once the Spartans pulled themselves together, they controlled the game.
A layup by Peterson with 11:29 left in the first half launched a 24-6 run that enabled the Spartans to come back for a 28-25 halftime lead. Peterson and Mateen Cleaves each had 3-pointers and Charlie Bell chipped in with six points during that spurt.
The run continued as Iowa scored just two points over the first 6:24 of the second half while the Spartans rolled to a 47-27 lead. The Hawkeyes never recovered.
Still, they made it interesting as Oliver hit two 3-pointers down the stretch, helping the Hawkeyes narrow the gap to 10 points twice, the last time at 74-64 with 1:43 remaining.
Michigan State, which forced 21 turnovers, didn't score a basket over the final 3:08, but the Spartans made eight free throws in that span.
By HARRY ATKINS
at the official