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Associated Press
Michigan State guard Branden Dawson dunks for two of his career-high 17 points in the Spartans’ victory Thursday night in Iowa City.
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Spartans use late steal to down Iowa

– Keith Appling’s four crucial free throws Thursday night weren’t nearly as exciting as his late basket in Michigan State’s win over Kansas back in November.

Still, Appling showed why the little things make all the difference between winning and losing on the road in the Big Ten.

Branden Dawson scored a career-high 17 points, including a late steal and tiebreaking dunk, and Appling went 4 for 4 from the line in the final 20 seconds as the 22nd-ranked Spartans sneaked past Iowa 62-59.

Gary Harris added 14 points despite hurting his left shoulder in the first half for the Spartans (13-3, 2-1), who hung on for their eighth win in nine games.

“There’s a lot of things we need to get better at. But that was a big win on the road, especially the way we played,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Dawson provided the game-changing play when he ripped the ball away from Iowa freshman Mike Gesell and gave Michigan State a 58-56 lead with 49 seconds left.

But Appling, whose acrobatic layup with 14 seconds left beat the Jayhawks two months ago, provided the buffer with four straight from the foul line.

“I said, ‘Keith, it’s going to be like Kansas. I’m putting it in your hands. You’ve got to make some decisions,’ ” Izzo said.

By contrast, Hawkeyes freshman Anthony Clemmons missed a free throw that would have tied it with 12 seconds to go. He also airballed a three-pointer at the buzzer as Iowa (11-5, 0-3) lost its third straight.


No. 4 DUKE 82, CLEMSON 45: In Durham, N.C., Elizabeth Williams scored 21 points and Tricia Liston and Haley Peters added 14 points each as the Blue Devils (14-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) earned their 32nd consecutive home ACC victory.

No. 6 KENTUCKY 65, No. 20 TEXAS A&M 62: In Lexington, Ky., A’dia Mathies scored 23 points and the Wildcats (15-1, 3-0 SEC) extended school-record winning streaks of 14 games overall and 31 in a row at home.

No. 9 TENNESSEE 84, MISSOURI 39: In Knoxville, Tenn., Meighan Simmons scored 18 points as the Vols (12-3, 3-0 SEC) relied on suffocating defense to win its fifth in a row.

No. 10 MARYLAND 84, No. 24 MIAMI 62: In College Park, Md., freshman Chloe Pavlech scored a season-high 20 points and Tiana Hawkins had 18 points and 11 rebounds as the Terrapins (12-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) ended the Hurricanes’ five-game winning streak.

No. 11 NORTH CAROLINA 70, N.C. STATE 66: In Raleigh, N.C., Brittany Rountree scored 17 points, including two free throws with 12.5 seconds left as the Tar Heels (16-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from 10 down early in the second half to beat the Wolfpack for the 22nd time in 26 meetings.

No. 18 SOUTH CAROLINA 64, VANDERBILT 48: In Columbia, S.C., Aleighsa Welch scored 13 points, and Ieasia Walker added 12 as the Gamecocks (14-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) held an opponent below 50 for the 12th time in 16 games.

WAKE FOREST 80, No. 18 FLORIDA STATE 72: In Tallahassee, Fla., Lakevia Boykin scored a career-high 34 points as the Demon Deacons (9-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth in a row.