- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Roy Devyn Marble scored 24 points, but No. 24 Iowa couldn’t stop an onslaught from No. 22 Michigan State that looked strangely familiar.

The balanced Spartans (23-7, 12-5 Big Ten) dominated the second half and built a 19-point lead in an 86-76 victory Thursday night as the Hawkeyes’ defensive struggles continued.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “They were making them. They were shooting them in rhythm. Some of them were tough. But some of them were wide open, so that’s our fault.”

After allowing 95 points at Minnesota and 93 at Indiana, the Hawkeyes (20-10, 9-8 Big Ten) surrendered 47 points in the second half and lost for the fourth time in five games.

“I don’t think we made the adjustments to come out in the second half and be successful,” Marble said. “Then, they started to come out and make some shots.”

Keith Appling scored in double figures for the first time in more than five weeks and Michigan State looked healthier than it had in months.

Appling showed his old aggressiveness before hip and wrist injuries and scored 12 points for the Spartans (23-7, 12-5).

“I’d like to thank all the fans for sticking with us,” Appling said in a postgame Senior Night celebration. “It has been a long season. But I hope to see you all at the Final Four in Dallas.”

Travis Trice, Appling’s backup, was 3 for 4 from 3-point range and had 16 points, while Adreian Payne added 14 points in his final home game.

“We’ve got to get on the road now and get to the Final Four,” Payne said of a goal achieved by every other four-year class in coach Tom Izzo’s 19 seasons. “There have been a lot of excuses. Now, it’s time to man-up and do what we need to do.”

Denzel Valentine had 13 points and nine assists for Michigan State, which looked a lot like the team that is 19-2 with a healthy Branden Dawson in the lineup.

“I don’t think it had a lot to do with a lack of energy,” Marble said. “I think we played hard. We just didn’t take care of the intangibles.”

Michigan State shot 58.3 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from 3-point range, while outscoring Iowa 20-13 at the free throw line, something the Spartans hadn’t done in a 4-6 swoon.

The crowd came alive early in the second half when Appling hit a free throw and drove the baseline for a reverse layup in traffic. A tough-angle bank shot by Gary Harris put Michigan State up by five points and forced an Iowa timeout.

Appling’s steal and layup made it 48-43 before a drive by Marble ended a 11-0 run. But Breslin Center erupted seconds later when the Spartans took an eight-point lead on a 3-pointer Appling wouldn’t have tried for several weeks while his right wrist was bothering him.

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