"Next man up," is the motto they adopted, following the lead of
the Michigan State football team that saw a former walk-on
linebacker make the winning play in this year's Rose Bowl.
With senior forward Adreian Payne and junior forward Branden Dawson
out, on this night, that next man was guard Russell Byrd, a former
blue-chip recruit who went through a series of three foot surgeries
that prevented him from reaching his potential — until Tuesday
night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The junior scored only three points, but they were the biggest three
points in No. 7 Michigan State's 71-69 overtime victory over No. 15
With the Spartans leading 67-64 and 34 seconds to play, Byrd nailed
a 3-pointer from the corner off a feed from sophomore guard Denzel
Valentine for what proved to be the winning shot. It was just the
fourth 3-pointer of the season for a player who hasn't even played
in 10 of Michigan State's games this season.
"When he hit it, I thought it was meant to be," Michigan State coach
Tom Izzo said. "In fact, I told him earlier in the game that he was
gonna make a shot. You've got to be happy for the kid. He's hung in
there and gone through all those surgeries. It was a big game for
While his teammates were elated for Byrd, he tried to downplay it.
"It was just a basketball play," Byrd said. "Zel drove and kicked
and found me, and I hit the shot."
And in the process, he erased the feelings the Spartans had Saturday
after a crushing home loss to Michigan. Michigan State also handed
the Hawkeyes their first home loss of the season.
"I thought tonight we were not as tough as we needed to be to beat
this team," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We lost to a really
The Spartans (19-2, 8-1 Big Ten) got 16 points from senior guard
Keith Appling, including a huge 3-pointer in overtime. However,
leading scorer Gary Harris was held to nine points, the first time
all season the sophomore guard didn't score in double figures.
In true next-man-up fashion, sophomore center Matt Costello had
career highs in points (11) and rebounds (12), and Valentine scored
12 points and grabbed six second-half rebounds.
"We got a bunch of guys that want to win," Appling said. "I feel
like it speaks volumes about the character of this team. A lot of
guys dig down and compete. That's why we came out with a victory
It took plenty of character, especially after Iowa (16-5, 5-3) went
on a 7-0 run late in the second half to take a 57-51 lead. But
Appling buried a 3-pointer and Costello scored on a dish from Harris
to cut the Iowa advantage to one point with 4:36 left in regulation.
Appling then knocked the ball away from sophomore center Adam
Woodbury and picked up the loose ball before dishing to Costello for
a dunk, allowing the Spartans to regain the lead, 58-57, with 4:07
[to top of second column]
Iowa senior guard Roy Devyn Marble went out limping during the run
but returned to the bench with less than four minutes to play. He
re-entered the game after Woodbury hit a pair of free throws to put
Iowa back in front with 3:54 to play. Costello answered with two
free throws, and Michigan State had a chance to extend the lead but
turned the ball over on two straight possessions. Iowa managed to
tie the game at 60 when sophomore guard Mike Gesell split a pair of
free throws with 1:25 to play.
Harris then split a pair of free throws before Gesell did the same
to tie the game at 61.
Appling had a shot to put Michigan State ahead in the final
half-minute but missed badly on a 3-pointer. Then Marble couldn't
finish on a floater in the lane, and Basabe missed on the put-back
attempt to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Spartans struggled offensively, but Appling's
3-pointer, a tip-in from Costello and Byrd's 3-pointer put them
ahead by six. Iowa kept scrapping and had a chance to tie at the
buzzer, but Gesell's runner missed.
"Mike could have gone a little more to the basket, and he kind of
floated away from the defender and tried to get it in," McCaffery
said. "I won't fault him there in a situation where you're down and
you're laying the ball up at the buzzer to put it to the second
overtime. I thought we had a good play there."
Marble scored 21 to lead the Hawkeyes, and junior forward Aaron
White scored 10.
"I'm going to look back at this day whether we're on top or we're on
the bottom of the final standings, and it's one of those days you
appreciate you came out on top," Izzo said. "I told my team we would
have to play tough. I didn't say well, because (Iowa) will take your
"I think (the Hawkeyes) have a heck of a basketball team. I feel
very fortunate to come out of tonight with a win."
NOTES: Iowa fell to 11-1 at home, while Michigan State improved to
10-0 in games away from Breslin Center. The Hawkeyes came into the
game as the only Big Ten team not to lose at home this season, and
they had won 20 straight at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. ... Michigan State
senior F Adreian Payne missed his sixth straight game with a
sprained right foot, and junior F Branden Dawson did not play for
the second game because of a broken right hand. ... Iowa sophomore G
Anthony Clemmons and Michigan State sophomore G Denzel Valentine
were high school teammates at Lansing (Mich.) Sexton High. They won
back-to-back Class B state championships in 2011 and '12.
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