2:34 PM ET, January 11, 2003
Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Those free throws Iowa missed at Northwestern the other night found their mark against Michigan State.The Hawkeyes needed them, too. Glen Worley scored 18 of his career-high 29 points in the first half and Iowa made seven straight free throws in the final minute to earn a 68-64 upset over Michigan State (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today, No. 25 AP) on Saturday. "You've just got to focus,'' said Iowa's Brody Boyd, who made both of his late free throws. "Going up there, in your head you've just got to say it's going in. Otherwise, you're going to miss it. If you go up there scared to shoot it, you're going to miss.'' Iowa (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) held on to beat Northwestern 68-63 on Wednesday night despite missing five straight free throws down the stretch. Saturday, the Hawkeyes were 8-for-10 over the final 1:31 after missing four of their previous five and finished 18-of-28. "We still want to do better,'' Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "We'd like to shoot 80 percent. We'd like to get there 30 times. Against this defense to get there 28 times tells me we're at least attacking.'' Michigan State (9-5, 1-1) was just 1-for-4 from the line at the end, leaving coach Tom Izzo shaking his head in frustration at his team's inconsistency. The Spartans went 29-of-30 from the free throw line in a victory over Ohio State on Thursday night. They finished 6-for-14 against Iowa, which outhustled the Spartans for loose balls and forced 18 turnovers. "It stuns me,'' Izzo said. "I think last year we were fifth in the country. We've got everybody back and the guys coming in are better free throw shooters than some of the guys we had.'' Worley's early scoring helped the Hawkeyes take a 13-point lead and force Michigan State into playing catch-up. The Spartans managed to go ahead 61-60, but Iowa tied it on Jeff Horner's free throw with 1:31 remaining, then made a couple of key defensive plays to pull away. With the score tied, Jared Reiner slapped the ball from Michigan State's Maurice Ager. Boyd was fouled after he came up with the ball and made two free throws for a 63-61 lead. Michigan State had a chance to tie it when Alan Anderson went to the line for two shots, but he missed both and the Spartans' chances evaporated. Reiner made two free throws for a 65-61 lead and Iowa forced a jump ball after Boyd slapped it away from Kelvin Torbert. "On the scouting report it said Torbert likes to go baseline,'' Boyd said. "That was going through my mind at the time, make him go middle. I forced him and just took it from him.'' The Hawkeyes had the possession arrow on the tie-up and Horner made two free throws to make it 67-61 with 17 seconds remaining. Horner sank a final free throw after Michigan State's Adam Ballinger hit a long 3-pointer from the left wing. "They beat us offensively and defensively,'' Ballinger said. "They beat us on the boards in the first half. They were more aggressive. That's probably the easiest way to say it. They just got all the loose balls and defensively they stuck it to us.'' Chris Hill led Michigan State with 18 points, all on 3-pointers, and Ager scored 14. Worley's 29 points were the most by an Iowa player since Luke Recker had that many against Kansas State on Dec. 22, 2001. Worley, a junior, was 10-of-16 from the field, 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. His previous best was 20 against Tennessee State last season. Chauncey Leslie had 11 points for Iowa. "I think whoever's open should take the shot,'' Worley said. "That's just our philosophy. Tonight it was me. The next night it could be Chauncey. The next night it could be Brody. We're wide open. Whoever's the leading scorer, no one really cares, we just want to win.'' Ahead 39-30 at halftime, Iowa stayed in control until hitting a cold spell with five minutes left. Ager's 3-pointer cut the lead to 60-57 and Hill's final 3 tied it with 2:17 to play. When Torbert hit one of two free throws to make it 61-60, Michigan State led for the first time since 6-4.