MSU blows 20 point lead, survives 75-69 at Iowa

A pair of unlikely heroes came up big for the Michigan State Spartans basketball team. After building a 22-point lead, MSU found themselves on the ropes in Iowa City leading by just three, but freshman point guard <b>Drew Neitzel</b>, making his first collegiate start and senior Tim Bograkos, making his last appearance in Iowa City, saved the Spartans.

Kelvin Torbert his four free throws down the stretch to help #10 Michigan State to a 75-69 win. MSU blew a 20-point second half lead with turnovers and an inability to execute down the stretch. However freshman Drew Neitzel and senior Tim Bograkos, came up big when MSU needed him the most.

Neitzel, 6-foot-1, from Wyoming Park (MI) high school helped calm the Spartans during a critical stretch taking care of the basketball and appearing to thrive under the pressure. The Hawkeyes had cut a Michigan State lead, that at one time was 22 points, down to three.

Insert in place of a shaky senior guard Chris Hill, Neitzel broke down a defender and fed junior forward Paul Davis in the post for his only assist of the contest. It couldn't have come at a better time, giving MSU a five-point margin when Iowa appeared to ready to steal the ballgame.

Reinserted for defensive purposes, Hill then made an excellent jump pass to Davis after a MSU stop and Davis was fouled. However, he uncharacterically missed both free throws.

Then it was Tim Bograkos, taking a charging foul on Iowa's Jeff Horner, who also was credited with a basket on the play. Bograkos converted the free throws and with MSU playing tough defense with the clock running out, Iowa had no choice but to foul Torbert.

Tobert led the Spartans with 16, Alan Anderson, who fouled out with about five minutes remaining chipped in with 11 points, Davis added ten. Maurice Ager,who along with Shannon Brown struggled with their shot all day, had eight and seven points respectively.

MSU coach Tom Izzo blamed the Spartans shaky play down the stretch on foul trouble. "We were playing so tentatively because of the foul trouble we were in," he said. "We had everybody and their uncle in foul trouble and no one got into the flow of the game."

The hard fought road win keeps MSU firmly in second place in the Big Ten behind #1 Illinois. They will next host Ohio State at the Breslin Center Wednesday at 8:00pm EST.

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