IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- Still smarting from Tuesday's loss to undefeated Illinois, Kelvin Torbert and Michigan State dodged a bullet against Iowa.
Torbert scored 16 points to lead No. 10 Michigan State to a 75-64 victory over Iowa in a Big Ten Conference game.
The Spartans (15-4, 6-2 Big Ten) beat the Hawkeyes for the 12th time in 14 meetings and kept their hold on second place in conference play.
The Hawkeyes played without leading scorer Pierre Pierce, who was dismissed from the team Wednesday because he is being investigated by West Des Moines police in a possible burglary and assault case.
Trailing 53-31 early in the second half, Iowa rallied behind Adam Haluska, who scored 15 of his 24 points in the final 20 minutes, to cut the deficit to 65-58 with 3:40 remaining.
Jeff Horner brought the Hawkeyes within 67-64 on a layup with 1:08 to go. But the Spartans made eight consecutive free throws down the stretch to ice the win.
"They came back and almost found a way to beat us," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "We didn't do a very good job down the stretch. Iowa proved it wasn't going to die and Michigan State didn't crumble in the end."
"Our guys really fought," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "The effort was there. But we just missed a lot of shots. I thought we did a lot of good things. But against the 10th-ranked team, you can't shoot 28 percent and win a lot of games."
Alan Anderson and Maurice Ager both fouled out for Michigan State, while Shannon Brown and Drew Naymick played with four fouls. Iowa was 32-of-42 from the line.
"We were playing so tentative with the foul trouble we were in," Izzo said. "I thought we got a little tired and made some poor decisions."
The Spartans came out hungry and broke open the game midway through the opening half with a 17-5 run, capped by a layup from Torbert, to take a 26-14 lead with 5:12 remaining.
Iowa (15-6, 3-4) truly missed Pierce's spark and leadership by shooting 23 percent (5-of-22) in the first half. The Hawkeyes trailed, 39-27, at intermission.
Anderson scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Paul Davis had 10 and 12 for Michigan State, which has won five of its last six.
Greg Brunner scored 16 points and Horner had 13 for the Hawkeyes, who have lost five of eight.
"It was a tough loss against a good team," Spartans guard Mike Henderson said. "And we got a lot out of it, knowing we can go head-to-head with the guys we still have."