Alford recorded his 300th coaching with the win.
"Give Steve's group credit," said MSU head coach Tom Izzo, "I thought his kids played harder than mine, and that used to be a strength of our program, said Tom Izzo. I think you have to give a lot of blame to Michigan State tonight, we looked completely out of sync."
Drew Neitzel hit two free-throws to pull the Spartans (13-3, 0-1 Big Ten) within 57-55 with 40 seconds remaining.
Mike Henderson hit two free-throws at the other end to put Iowa up by four points.
Goran Suton responded at the other end with a layup to pull within 59-57 with 29.5 seconds left. Henderson hit one of two free-throws at the other end to make it 60-57, giving the Spartans a chance to tie the game with a three.
But Drew Neitzel's shot bounced off the rim and with Iowa grabbing the rebound and hitting two free-throws at the other end, sealed the victory.
Neitzel finished with a game-high 20 points, as he was the only MSU scorer in double-figures.
"I was very disappointed with our team," lamented Izzo. "The number of lay-ups we missed early and the foolish turnovers and the way we defended at times was as poor as we've done," he said.
The Spartans never recovered after spotting the Hawkeyes an early 13-point lead.
MSU showed life to end the first half as they closed with a 12-3 run to pull within 32-28.
Midway through the second half though, Iowa took their game inside and pounded their way back to a 13 point lead at 46-33.
In the end, Haluska was the difference in the game, making a key three-pointer and hitting a pair of free-throws, halting MSUs run while putting his team up 57-50.
On the other side, Iowa's defense held Neitzel in check for most of the game, holding the team to only 60 points. Neitzel did damage at the line, going 8-for-10.
"The only bright spot I saw was Maurice Joseph," said Izzo. "A heroic effort on his part, considering he was the only guy I felt played with any grit tonight," he said.
The Iowa defense was the story in the last meeting between the two teams, as the Hawkeyes shut down the Spartans for only 48 points, containing the high-scoring trio of Maurice Ager, Paul Davis, and Shannon Brown.
"So hats off to Iowa, they did a great job, now we have a lot of work to do and we have to get some guys back, that would really help right now, Im sure that has a lot to do with it, we look a little out of sequence sometimes", said Izzo.
Michigan State now travels to Bloomington, Indiana to face the Hoosiers, led by new coach Kelvin Sampson, on Sunday afternoon.