Iowa pulled off an unbelievable comeback on Saturday versus Michigan State.
Coming off back-to-back ugly road losses, things were looking bleak once again for Iowa. The Hawkeyes trailed MSU, 91-78, with just 1:34 left in regulation.
At that point, Iowa had no choice other than to start jacking up 3s. For a team that was a combined 6-of-52 from long distance in its previous two games, that did not seem like it would be a recipe for a comeback.
This time, though, shots were falling at an incredible rate. The Hawkeyes made six of their final nine 3-point attempts in the final 90 seconds of regulation in order to miraculously force overtime even as Michigan State made most of its free throws.
With the home crowd going nuts, Iowa outscored MSU 11-5 in overtime to emerge with an improbable 112-106 victory.
It was a wild turn of events.
Michigan State had double-digit lead in final minute
MSU had a 10-point lead with 48 seconds to play but just could not get a stop on defense.
Iowa’s Connor McCaffery hit a triple at the 39-second mark to make MSU’s lead 96-89. And after forcing a turnover, Kris Murray followed up with a 3-pointer of his own at the 30-second mark to cut MSU’s lead to 96-92.
Following a pair of free throws from MSU’s A.J. Hoggard, Patrick McCaffery drilled one from the top of the arc to make it 98-95 with 20 seconds left. Iowa was still fouling and Hoggard sunk two more to make it 100-95.
On the ensuing possession, Connor McCaffery hit another 3 to cut MSU’s lead to 100-98 with 10 seconds to go. MSU subsequently got the ball to Hoggard again. This time, however, he split the free throws.
MSU’s lead was 101-98 and the ball was back in Iowa’s hands. That set the stage for Payton Sandfort to send the game to overtime.
It looked like Michigan State was trying to foul to put Iowa on the line and avoid another 3-pointer. Instead, the Spartans messed up a switch on defense, allowing Connor McCaffery to get the ball to Sandfort via a dribble handoff.
Sandfort, of course, drilled it.
From there, Iowa completely controlled the extra session and were able to emerge victorious.
Michigan State reached as high as 99.8% on ESPN’s win probability metric in the final minute, but Iowa was able to pull off a comeback for the ages.
Murray led the way for Iowa, posting 26 points and eight rebounds. He was one of five Iowa players in double figures. Tony Perkins had 24 points, including two clutch putbacks in overtime. Sandfort had 22 off the bench, including 6-of-10 from downtown.
With the win, Iowa snapped that two-game losing streak and improved to 18-11 overall and 10-8 in Big Ten play. MSU dropped to 17-11 (9-8 Big Ten).
Fran McCaffery’s bizarre staredown with official
Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery is known to be a hot-head toward officials.
And in the early stages of his team’s miraculous comeback, McCaffery engaged in a bizarre staredown with one of the game’s referees.
McCaffery had already received a technical foul with a little more than two minutes left in regulation. About 30 seconds later during a timeout, McCaffery took a different approach.
He just stared at Kelly Pfeifer for a good 15 seconds. He even stepped toward him before being pulled back toward the team huddle by one of his assistants. There were no words exchanged.
Perhaps it was some sort of weird intimidation tactic. Whatever it was, maybe it managed to fire up his team in that final stretch.
Brutal beat for Michigan State bettors
If you had money on Michigan State in this game, you may never experience a worse beat.
Iowa opened as a 4.5-point favorite and was quickly bet up to a 5.5-point favorite. That means, if you bet on Michigan State +5.5, you would win your bet if MSU won the game or lost by five points or fewer.
Ordinarily when a 5.5-point underdog is up by 13 points with 94 seconds remaining in regulation, you’re in a pretty good situation.
And even when the game went to overtime, MSU bettors had some semblance of hope even with all of the momentum on the Iowa side.
Overtime is rarely a friend to an underdog bettor, and that turned out to be the case again. Perkins made two free throws with 19 seconds left in overtime to put Iowa up 112-106. It was the first time Iowa had a 6-point lead since the 8:25 mark of the first half.
On the ensuing possession, MSU’s Malik Hall jacked up a contested 3 and missed. Iowa got the rebound and dribbled out the 112-106 victory, covering the spread by half a point.