Michigan sneaks past Iowa in tale of 2 halves

IOWA CITY, Iowa — In a drastic tale of two halves, the University of Iowa lost to Michigan 60-52 on Valentine’s Day in Carver Hawkeye Arena. With the loss, the Hawkeyes fall to 11-15 on the season and 4-9 in the Big Ten while Michigan moves to 7-17, 3-9.

Iowa watched a 16-point lead slowly dwindle away throughout the game as the Hawkeyes cooled down offensively and the Wolverines heated up in terms of shooting percentage.

“It didn’t look good for awhile,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We haven’t been great game-shooters at times, but I see a little bit of it coming out today. We weren’t going to go away.”

“This is very painful, un-enjoyable and disappointing,” Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said. “Give them credit. They made shots in the second half. We knew they would test us and then counter.”

Leading the way for Iowa was Jake Kelly with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. Cyrus Tate added 10 points and six rebounds while Seth Gorney and Justin Johnson each added nine points.

The Hawkeyes shot only 36.5 (19-52) percent on the evening while Michigan shot 45.2 percent (19-42).

“We played good defense tonight,” Beilein said. “Making a few shots was a big difference. We were lucky they had a bad night shooting.”

Michigan was led by Manny Harris scoring 15 points including shooting a perfect 8-8 from the foul line. DeShawn Sims added 10 points and Anthony Wright added eight.

Iowa used a quick three-point bucket from Tony Freeman to jump-start the game and give the Hawkeyes a lead which they would keep and build on throughout the half. A dunk by Gorney would give Iowa a 9-5 lead but Michigan’s Ekpe Udoh answered with a lay-in on the other end to pull Michigan within two, 9-7.

The Hawkeyes would then go on a 13-0 run sparked by Johnson’s first three-pointer of the game. He would hit another three-point shot and Tate would also add three points the traditional way, giving Iowa a 22-7 lead. The Hawkeye defense held the Wolverines scoreless for over eight minutes during the run. The Hawkeyes held Michigan to 33.3 percent shooting and forced eight turnovers in the half.

Sims ended the drought for the Wolverines, scoring seven straight points to cut the Hawkeye lead to 11 (25-14). Michigan would later add two free-throws from Zack Gibson but Iowa would get the last basket of the half, a dunk from Kurt Looby on an assist from Freeman to lead at the half 27-16.

“I think we’ve had a lot of bad halves of basketball so we can forget about them hopefully,” Beilein said. “I never think we have the game won and I never think we’re beat. Just be solid.”

Michigan came out firing in the second half with a 13-4 run, including five points from both Harris and Ron Coleman to cut the Iowa lead to 31-29. The Hawkeyes would push the lead back to nine 38-29 behind Tate free-throws and a Kelly three-pointer. After a bucket by Gorney gave Iowa a 40-36 advantage, the Wolverines went on an 11-0 run to open up a seven point lead 47-40.

Wright contributed each of his eight points in the second half. Harris also scored each of his 15 points in the second half, leading to 44 second half points for the Wolverines. Michigan shot 54.2 percent for the second half, including 50 percent (6-12) from behind the arc.

For nearly nine minutes, Iowa was held without a field goal in the second half during which the Wolverines opened up a 52-44 lead before Johnson hit a three-pointer with 1:15 left in the game.

“I’m still having a hard time getting them to understand what winning requires,” Lickliter said. “We spend a lot of time reacting. It needs to be every possession valuable.”

A later three-point basket by Freeman cut the Michigan lead to 54-50 but Harris would make six free throws down the stretch to help seal the eight-point Wolverine victory. Iowa’s next game is at home against Northwestern on Feb. 19 at 8:05 p.m. inside Carver Hawkeye Arena.