Jan. 22, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Junior Aaron White did all he could to bring the 10th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball back from an 11-point second-half deficit, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Hawkeyes fell 75-67 at No. 21/25 Michigan on Wednesday night inside the Crisler Center.
“The kids really hung in there and maintained their composure, and that’s what it is all about,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “When you go on the road, you want them to play with composure. We can look at this constructively and get better from it.”
Trailing 62-51 with 8:32 remaining, White went to work, getting Iowa back in the game within a blink of the eye. The forward scored seven consecutive points, the final coming on a left-handed hook in the lane, to cut the deficit to 62-58 with 6:40 left.
Michigan’s Nic Stuaskas ended the 7-0 Hawkeye spurt with a jumper, but White followed with a dunk to make it a 64-60 game with 5:21 remaining. The Wolverines then got dagger 3-pointer when Zak Irvin connected from the corner to make the score 67-60 with 3:45 left.
White pushed his run to 11-straight with a pair of free throws and 13-straight with a fast-break flush off a feed from Roy Devyn Marble to get Iowa to within 67-64 with 2:32 to play — the closest it would come. White ended up scoring 14-straight and 14-of-Iowa’s-final-16 points in the contest.
“We battled hard, but today our defense was the issue, it wasn’t our offense,” said senior Melsahn Basabe. “Our rebounding, communications and rotations weren’t what they were supposed to be. We have to give credit to Michigan for getting the win.”
White and Basabe led a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, each scoring 17 points. White scored 16-of-his-17 points in the second half, making 6-of-12 field goals and 5-of-8 free throws. He also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Fifteen of Basabe’s season-high 17-point total came in the first half when he made 7-of-10 field goals; he was 7-of-12 from the floor for the game. Senior Roy Devyn Marble added 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting.
“The game plan was to pound it inside, they play four guards and we tried to take advantage of that,” said Basabe. “It’s on me, in the second half I ran out of energy. That contributed to the pace of the game because I was supposed to continue my dominance.”
The Hawkeyes shot 47.2 percent (25-of-53) from the floor, but went just 2-of-10 (20 percent) from 3-point range. Iowa made 15-of-21 free throws, won the rebounding battle, 33-32, but were bottled up in transition, scoring just four fast-break points. Iowa also committed 14 turnovers, which led to 20 Wolverine points.
Michigan shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the floor, which included an 8-of-27 effort from long range. Stauskas led a group of four Wolverines in double figures, scoring 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting with four 3-pointers.
After trailing 38-34 at the break, the Hawkeyes cut the led to 43-41 courtesy of a Marble 3-pointer at the 17:34 mark, but Michigan responded with an 11-2 spurt to break open a 54-43 lead. Iowa quickly got it back to within five points on a pair of Basabe free throws — his only points of the second half — but the Wolverines followed with six-straight to make it a 62-51 score with 8:05 to play.
Iowa shot 54 percent (15-of-28) in the first half, but still trailed 38-34 at the break. The Wolverines made 15-of-31 field goal attempts (48 percent), including four 3-pointers; the Hawkeyes were 1-of-3 from distance.
Basabe got Iowa off to a strong start, scoring 11 of the team’s first 17 points, as his three-point play and a Josh Oglesby jumper gave Iowa a 19-14 lead at the 10:48 mark. Michigan tied the game at 21 on a Stauskas 3-pointer with 8:22 left in the half.
With Iowa up 31-30, Michigan’s Caris LeVert’s steal and fast-break layup ignited an 8-3 run to close out the half, turning a one point deficit into a 38-34 halftime lead. Basabe matched Stauskas in the first half, as both players finished with 15 points.
Iowa returns to action Saturday, facing Northwestern at 11 a.m. (CT) in Evanston. The Hawkeyes beat the Wildcats 93-67 in the first meeting in Iowa City on Jan. 9.
“Every game in this conference is a challenge,” said Basabe. “You can’t take them lightly. They play super hard and every game is a battle. There is no time to feel sad for ourselves, we’ll address what went wrong tonight and make sure it doesn’t happen Saturday.”