Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Backs against the wall, the Spartans come out fighting...and win

I have to admit I didn't see last night's huge Spartan win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, but not because I was trying to avoid it. I had a prior commitment that kept me away from a television and didn't allow me the opportunity to check for score updates.

After my "prior commitment" was over, I left for home at 9:15 PM, and as I started up my ice-cold car, I flipped the radio station to Lansing's WMMQ 94.9 in time to agonize over Keith Appling's two missed free throws with 4.4 seconds left in overtime and MSU clinging to a 71-69 lead. By the time I pulled into my driveway, Iowa had burned through their last two timeouts, and as I finally parked my car in the garage, the Hawkeyes' Mike Gesell missed the potential game-tying shot and the Spartans had escaped Iowa City with a most unexpected but desperately needed victory.

It's impossible to underestimate how big a victory this was for the Spartans. It's truly stunning that, coming on the heels of an emotionally draining loss to archrival Michigan, MSU was able to go on the road and defeat a top-15 team riding a 20-game home winning streak.

It may be too early to make such grand pronouncements, but when the dust clears on this season, we may look back on this win at Iowa as the pivotal game that both kept the Spartans in contention for a Big Ten title and boosted the confidence of this battered, patched together bunch.

The Big Ten Network is replaying the game today at 4 o'clock, so I look forward to watching it and seeing for myself how the game played out (while not having to worry about my blood pressure reaching a critical level since I already know the outcome).

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