Michigan 60 Iowa 52
It was a tale of two halves on Thursday night as Michigan took advantage of a cold shooting second half by the Hawkeyes on their way to a 60-52 road victory. It marked only the 3rd win away from home for the Wolverines all season and Iowa’s third straight loss.
The Hawkeyes jumped on Michigan early in what had the looks to be an easy win for Iowa. It looked as though the Wolverines left their offense at home as Iowa jumped out to a 22-7 lead and led by as much as 16 at one point in the first half. The Hawkeyes ended up taking an 11-point lead in the locker room at halftime, leading 27-16.
After the halftime break things started going downhill for the Hawkeyes and downhill in a hurry. Michigan started the 2nd half on a 13-4 run as they picked up the pace on offense and started knocking down their open jumpers. Manny Harris led the charge for the Wolverines scoring all 15 of his points in the second half. Of course, most of those came from the free throw line in garbage time, as Harris ended the game 8-8 from the charity stripe. The Iowa offense lacked showing any type of flow in the second half and went without a field goal for over an eight minute stretch of time. For the game, the Hawkeyes averaged a dismal 0.86 points per possession for the night compared to Michigan’s much more efficient 1.03 points per possession.
Iowa shot just 37% for the game and were 7 of 28 (25%) from the 3-point line. Sharp-shooter Justin Johnson could not find his touch all game long and finished just 3-13 from long range with 9 points. Tony Freeman may have played his worst game of the season, scoring just 8 points and only 3 in the second half. Iowa was led in scoring by Jake Kelly’s 12 points and Cyrus Tate who added 10 points in the loss. They were the only two Hawkeyes to score in double figures. Turnovers also continued to hurt the Hawkeyes. Iowa finished the game with 12 turnovers, which is a high number for a 60 possession game. That equals a turnover rate of 20%, meaning Iowa turned the ball over on 20% of their possessions.
Iowa now has the weekend off to prepare for their next game against Northwestern at home on Tuesday. The Hawkeye’s remaining schedule appears to be quite favorable with a home and away against Northwestern along with a home game versus Illinois and road contests against Michigan State and Penn State. Four of Iowa’s remaining five games look to be winnable, but on the other hand not many would have guessed the Hawks would drop Thursday nights game to Michigan. Certainly at halftime it looked like Iowa may be ready to finish the regular season on a roll, but in the end it’s back to the drawing board for Coach Lickliter and his staff.
Michigan has now won two straight and faces Ohio State at home on Sunday. The Wolverines finish the season with four out of six at home with road games at Minnesota and Penn State. If Michigan can finish strong they could easily find themselves with the 7-seed in the Big Ten Tournament.