Durrell Summers led the Spartans with 19 points, 7 rebounds and two assists, but it was the solid floor game of Korie Lucious with help from Draymond Green that helped the Spartans execute in key moments of the game.
The Spartans erased a seven-point halftime deficit by going on a 7-0 run.
"We just wanted to come out and get a jump start. We're right in their background (the) Missouri Valley Conference," said Draymond Green who's four assists, five rebounds and a block helped MSU build a five point lead.
Northern Iowa fought back and tied the ball game at 51 but Adam Koch uncharacterisically and with the shot clock running down, Lucious drove the lane, broke down the defender with a spinning fade away jumper that energized the Spartan bench and seemed to deflate the Panthers.
"I think its from years of standing in the gym, working out with my dad and my friends and whoevers in the gym with me trying to perfect shots that may seem difficult, Lucious said of his tough shot. "I saw the shot clock was going down and thank God it went in."
"We've got two floor generals and I knew he would step up and he did," said Green of Lucious. He finished with a solid 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Michigan State moves on to Sunday where they will take on the Tennessee Volunteeers for the right to get to their sixth Final Four in twelve years.