Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/10/13
Branden Dawson scored a career-high 17 points, including a late steal and tiebreaking dunk that helped No. 22 Michigan State beat Iowa 62-59 on Thursday night. Gary Harris had 14 points for the Spartans (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who hung on late for their eighth win in nine games. Dawson ripped the ball away from Iowa freshman Mike Gesell and gave Michigan State a 58-56 lead with 49 seconds left. Anthony Clemmons missed a free throw that would have tied it with 12 seconds to go and airballed a 3-pointer at the buzzer as Iowa (11-5, 0-3) lost its third straight. The Hawkeyes played without leading scorer Devyn Marble, who sprained his ankle in practice this week. Zach McCabe led Iowa with 15 points and fellow reserve Melsahn Basabe added 14. For whatever reason, Michigan State and Iowa have made a habit of teaming up for some ugly basketball in recent years. The play was brutal at times on Thursday. The Spartans and Hawkeyes slogged through a series of sloppy possessions early in the second half, with Michigan State slowly chipping away at Iowa's slim lead. The Spartans finally took their first lead, 43-42, on a nifty layup by Keith Appling off yet another Iowa turnover with just under 9 minutes left. Harris followed with a 3, and Adreian Payne drove the lane and threw down an emphatic one-handed dunk to put the Spartans ahead 48-45 with 6:15 left. Michigan State blew the lead but tied it back up at 56 on Harris' three free throws with 1:04 left. Appling had 12 points, including four free throws in the final 20 seconds for Michigan State, which forced 18 turnovers. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery openly questioned his team's effort following an embarrassing 95-67 loss at Michigan last Sunday. The Hawkeyes got the message. Iowa opened with a 7-0 run and hit nine of its first 12 shots in building an early 10-point advantage. Aaron White, whose poor defense against the Wolverines was a particular sore spot for McCaffery, then jumped a passing lane for a transition dunk and a 24-12 lead. But the Hawkeyes couldn't sustain their early energy level, and Michigan State pulled to 28-24. White had 11 points, but the Hawkeyes shot just 4 of 16 from 3-point range. The Spartans have a pair of very winnable games coming up; Nebraska at home on Sunday and at Penn State next Wednesday, before a showdown with No. 15 Ohio State in East Lansing on Jan. 19.
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