In the middle of a first half fraught with foul trouble, Iowa went on a huge run, and after Michigan managed to cut the lead to five in the second, the Hawkeyes’ 2-3 zone defense shut down the Wolverines and put the game away. Iowa forward Tyler Cook drew six fouls on his own in the early going and Michigan’s tight rotation was forced to expand. Michigan’s first two options at the five (Jon Teske and Isaiah Livers) picked up two first half fouls each and played a combined four minutes, and eventually John Beilein briefly turned to fifth-string center Colin Castleton against Iowa's deep rotation of big men.
Ignas Brazdeikis carried the offense early for Michigan: he opened the scoring with a layup over a flopping Luka Garza, knocked down a couple threes, and had 12 quick points as Michigan built a slight lead. A single Iowa possession featured needless fouls from Teske and Jordan Poole (both exited the game for several minutes each). On the next possession, Cook drew a foul on Livers while establishing early post position; a couple possessions later, Livers fouled him again after an offensive rebound. Both teams accumulated plenty of fouls before halftime (Garza and Connor McCaffery in particular were limited), but Iowa was better able to withstand the attrition.
Iowa’s big run started with an easy Cook bucket on a post iso against Austin Davis, and backup big man Ryan Kriener knocked down a three to tie the game on a miscommunicated Iggy - Davis switch. The Hawkeyes have plenty of scoring options, and Kriener scored 11 first half points, finishing the game with an efficient double-double in just 22 minutes. Consecutive Joe Wieskamp buckets prompted a Beilein timeout with the Iowa lead at six; Wieskamp continued to score (the freshman had 12 points in the first half), while Michigan racked up more fouls and kept on missing jumpers, and the Hawkeyes entered halftime up 42-29. Reserve big men Brandon Johns, Davis, and Castleton combined for 16 minutes and consequently, the Wolverine defense was vulnerable inside.
Iowa’s quality offense scored efficiently in the first half (though they wound up having just an average game), but their normally poor defense had a great performance against Michigan. Other than Iggy’s early scoring, a spurt from Poole late in the first half, and a few nice plays from Teske and Zavier Simpson, Michigan’s offense really struggled. The Wolverines took over half of their shots from behind the arc against a defense that mixed a man defense that switched ball screens and their 2-3 zone. Eventually Iowa’s defense extended to contest threes (even deep threes), but Michigan was unable to unlock the zone, kept shooting, and finished 8-33 (24%) from three. Entering the game, the Hawkeyes had the worst defense in Big Ten play, but they held Michigan to 0.81 points per possession — which was almost exactly the same Wolverine output in their loss to Wisconsin.
Both teams started the second half clumsily, and Iowa extended their lead to 15 with a Jordan Bohannon three by the first TV timeout. Over about six minutes, Michigan went on a 16-6 run to get back into the game. That run started with a Kobe Assist from Charles Matthews (who had a rough game offensively, shooting 2-12 from the field) for a Teske dunk; Iggy hit a baseline jumper, Simpson was fouled and made both free throws, Poole found Teske for two in the pick-and-roll; a Teske tip-in from among multiple Hawkeyes trimmed the Iowa lead to 54-49 with just under ten minutes left in the game. The presence of Teske inside bolstered the Michigan defense, and Iowa — a team that loves to feed the post — struggled to score.
Last week, the Hawkeyes imploded in the second half at home against Michigan State after building a decent lead, but this week, they responded to a Michigan run and held on. On the possession following the Teske tip-in, Garza scored on Teske in the post; the next time down the floor, the big man knocked down a three. Wieskamp scored an and-one layup to give Teske his third foul, then Garza drew his fourth. Within four possessions after Michigan cut Iowa’s lead to five, the Hawkeyes pushed the margin back to 12 and sent Teske back to the bench with foul trouble. Garza was excellent in the second half and finished with a game-high 19 points. Michigan’s offense only scored ten more points over the rest of the game.
The Wolverines’ lack of depth was exposed by the tight whistle in this game. Teske, Livers, Poole, and Iggy each picked up two first half fouls, and Iowa’s offense feasted inside against the reserve bigs. Teske's absence was particularly significant — the Wolverines were +3 in the 13 minutes he was able to play before fouling out and -18 without him on the floor. The officiating was much less strict with physical play in the second half, but the damage had already been done: Michigan’s deficit at halftime was close to the final margin of defeat. The Hawkeyes can rely on their backups to contribute, and the Wolverines cannot. Iowa’s bench outscored Michigan’s 24-3.
For the second time this season, Michigan went on the road to an upper-half Big Ten team and left with a loss as the students rushed the floor. In both games, the Wolverine offense was woeful, but while Wisconsin has an elite defense, Iowa has a bad one. Between Michigan’s discombobulated rotation and poor shooting over the zone, this loss can probably be chalked up to the vagaries of life on the road in the Big Ten. Iowa’s a good team that played well, Michigan had a bad game offensively, and Michigan drops back to a half-game behind first place in the Big Ten. The Wolverines
welcome Rutgers to Crisler [edit: travel to Rutger] on Tuesday.
[Box score after the JUMP]