Michigan State discovered just how tough things can be without do-everything star Denzel Valentine.
Mike Gesell scored a career-high 25 points and Iowa cruised past top-ranked Michigan State 83-70 on Tuesday night, handing the Spartans their first loss of the season.
BOX SCORE: IOWA 83, MICHIGAN STATE 70
Peter Jok had 19 points for the Hawkeyes (10-3, 1-0 Big Ten), which toppled a No. 1 team for the first time in 16 years.
Iowa never trailed in what turned out to be a surprisingly easy win over the Spartans (13-1, 0-1). The Hawkeyes led by as many as 19 points in snapping a nine-game losing streak against Michigan State.
“It was one of the rare times in my career I thought we got, for (lack) of a better choice of words, punked,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “We got out-hustled.”
Eron Harris scored 21 points to lead the Spartans. They were playing their second game without Valentine — their leader in scoring, rebounds and assists — and their first since Izzo’s father Carl died Monday.
But Izzo refused to use Valentine’s absence as an excuse, pointing instead to what he called a “disappointing effort.”
“Zero,” Izzo said about how much Valentine not playing hurt the Spartans. “That had something to do with not making baskets. But it had nothing to do with the effort you give.”
Still, the Spartans looked so underwhelming in beating Oakland 99-93 last week without Valentine — who is out likely through next week after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee– that the unranked Hawkeyes were actually a slight favorite.