Keith Appling and Adreian Payne took their last licks inside the Breslin Center on Thursday night. And for this pair, the performance that followed was more or less what Michigan St. fans have grown accustomed to over the last four years.
Five different Spartans were in double figures of Thursday night as Michigan St. finished out their home slate for the season with an 86-76 victory over the No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes, who have now lost four of their last five. Michigan St. meanwhile ends a two-game losing streak with the victory, their 23rd on the season.
The dynamic duo of Appling and Payne were positively potent in their final home game of their respective careers. They scored a combined 26 points, 14 coming from the Dayton native in Payne. The 6'10" center grabbed an additional four rebounds with three coming on the defensive side, while The Motor City native Appling grabbed three rebounds, dished out three assists and picked up a steal as well.
Sophomore guard Denzel Valentine may have been the best Spartan on the court Thursday night, though. A native of Lansing, Valentine provided a superb all-around performance that was just what the doctor ordered, as he went on to score 13, threw out nine assists, and grabbed six rebounds.
Joining these three in double figures was sophomore guard Gary Harris who scored 12, and junior guard Travis Trice who scored 17 points and shot 75.0 percent from the three-point line on his four attempts.
For the Hawkeyes, this was simply another disappointing performance in a current run of discouraging outings. Iowa shot just 46.7 percent from the field an abysmal 35.0 percent from the three-point line on 20 attempts. This says a lot for a team whose 3PA/FGA rate is 26.8 which is 317th in the country.
The Hawkeyes led at the half by two points but after the under-12 timeout, the game kept slipping further and further away from them as the Spartans poured it on as time ran out.
Iowa and Michigan St. now look to finish their respective seasons on a high note this coming weekend. Saturday, the Iowa Hawkeyes host lowly Illinois, and on Sunday the Michigan St. Spartans travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio St. Buckeyes.