The No. 25 Spartans were bitten once again by the free-throw shooting bug, falling to Iowa 68-64 on Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa.
MSU (9-5 overall, 1-1 Big Ten) shot just 6-of-14 from the line, following a near perfect performance (29-of-30) from the free throw line in the Big Ten opener against Ohio State last Thursday.
Iowa (10-3, 2-0) was a different story down the stretch. The Hawkeyes made seven consecutive free throws to preserve the win.
Sophomore forward Alan Anderson, who was a perfect 14-of-14 from the charity stripe against the Buckeyes, had a chance to tie the game with 33.9 seconds left at the free throw line, but missed both attempts.
A late three-pointer by senior forward Adam Ballinger cut the lead to 67-64, but it was too little, too late.
Glen Worley led the Hawkeyes with a career-high 29 points. The 6-foot-7 forward was 4-of-5 from the three-point line. Coming into the game, he was averaging just 12.3 points per game.
The Spartans got off to a 6-4 lead following a pair of three-pointers by Hill, but Iowa immediately responded. The Hawkeyes went on a 20-5 run to pull ahead 24-11 early in the first half.
The Spartans cut the deficit to three, 31-28, but Iowa went on another run to take a 39-30 lead at the half.
The Hawkeyes used a balance attack of outside shooting and inside shooting in the first half. Iowa scored 18 points in the paint, while MSU mustered only four.
Worley led the Hawkeyes, scoring 18 of his 29 points in the first half.
Hill led the Spartans in the first half with nine points. Freshman forward Erazem Lorbek chipped in six points and pulled down four boards.
MSU opened the second half with a 9-2 run to cut the lead to two, only to have the Hawkeyes go on another run, building a 51-43 lead.
The Spartans clawed back to take the lead, 61-60, with 1:50 remaining. It was their first lead since the opening three minutes of the contest.
The loss is the third in the last four games for the Spartans. It also marked the second time the Spartans have lost following a one-day layoff.