IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tom Izzo has never seen anything like this at Michigan State.
The Spartans' 72-52 loss at Iowa on Wednesday night left Izzo's players embarrassed and the coach questioning his team's effort and leadership.
"That was the worst performance of a team that I've coached since I've been at Michigan State," Izzo told reporters after the game. "As you can imagine, we are reeling."
Matt Gatens scored 19 points as the Hawkeyes (9-13, 2-8 Big Ten) never trailed in earning their second conference win and their second win of any kind in the last 10 games. The Hawkeyes shot nearly 58 percent from the field, led by 21 points at halftime and by as many as 26 in the second half.
Michigan State center Derrick Nix's assessment? "We got punked."
"Rock bottom," added teammate Draymond Green. "I don't know how much farther you can drop."
The Spartans (13-9, 5-5), who suspended guard Korie Lucious for the season on Jan. 25 for conduct detrimental to the team, have lost four of their last five and four straight on the road. Izzo said the Spartans were lacking leadership."You've got to have seniors that bring it," he said. "Scoring isn't the only thing you do to win games."Senior point guard Kalin Lucas, who led Michigan State with 17 points despite shooting 5-for-16 from the field, didn't disagree."I don't think guys came ready to play tonight," Lucas said. "We gotta play hard."Gatens hit a 3-pointer to open the game and push Iowa into a 15-2 scoring drive, which involved two jumpers from Eric May and shots from Jarryd Cole, Bryce Cartwright and Gatens.Two Michigan State timeouts couldn't stem the tide as the Hawkeyes took a 30-8 lead with 7:40 remaining in the first half. Iowa focused on defense in the second half, posting five steals and maintaining a healthy lead.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.