By JAMES ALLAN
NEW YORK — The upset was there for the taking for the 12th-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team in the second round of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament.
The Hawkeyes held fifth-seeded Michigan to a season-low three 3-point field goals and the Wolverines’ top two players — Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Moe Wagner — were in foul trouble throughout the game, but 15th-ranked Michigan survived and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 77-71 overtime victory on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
Iowa trailed by six points (67-61) with 2:09 remaining in regulation before the Hawkeyes surged to force overtime. Junior Nicholas Baer hit a 3-pointer — his first of the game — with 59 seconds remaining to trim the lead to 67-64.
Bohannon missed a 3-pointer to tie with 32 seconds remaining, but he got a chance at redemption. After Abdur-Rahkman missed the front end of a 1-on-1, Bohannon responded, hitting a step-back 3-pointer with 16.1 seconds to tie the game at 67.
Iowa’s defense held, forcing an Abdur-Rahkman miss at the buzzer to force overtime. The Hawkeyes then took a 69-67 lead to start the extra period and they led 70-69 following a Garza free throw with 2:33 left.
Michigan’s Duncan Robison — the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year — put the Wolverines up for good, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give Michigan a 72-70 lead.
Iowa trailed by three points with a minute to play and it had two quality looks — one from Isaiah Moss and one from Garza — to tie the game, but neither fell, thus seeing the Hawkeyes’ season come to a close. Michigan outscored Iowa, 10-4, in the overtime period.
“I was proud of the way we came back,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “I am proud of the way the guys executed. Even the shots that we missed in overtime that would have given us a chance to win was great execution and they were good shots by good shooters.”
Iowa had four players reach double figures with sophomore Ryan Kriener leading the way with 14 points in 20 minutes. Garza and Tyler Cook had 13 points apiece, while Bohannon had 11 to go along with six assists.
The Hawkeyes shot 41.5 percent and made seven 3-pointers, but Iowa was just 10-of-18 from the free throw line. Michigan shot 45.2 percent, despite going 3-of-18 from 3-point range, and it made just 18-of-32 free throws.
Charles Matthews led a group of four Wolverines in double figures with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Iowa overcame a sloppy start — eight turnovers in the first 12 minutes — to lead 40-35 at the half. The Hawkeyes shot 55.2 percent from the floor and went 5-of-9 from the free throw stripe.
The Hawkeyes trailed 22-17 at the 8:24 mark before getting a lift Kriener. The forward score seven first-half points in just six minutes to help Iowa turn a six-point deficit into a five-point lead.
Michigan took control early in the second half, scoring the first 11 points to turn its halftime deficit into a 46-40 lead. The Wolverines didn’t hit their first 3-pointer until the 9:32 mark of the second half, but then Robinson hit two straight to push the lead to 59-51 lead.
QUOTING COACH MCCAFFERY
“Even though the season didn’t go as we hoped, these guys never quit on the staff, the staff never quit on them, and most importantly, they didn’t quit on each other. We kept grinding and trying to get better. You could see it, especially the last few games.
“This shows you what we’re capable of. Bottom line is if the guys go south, you know it, and this team has too much character. They want to be good and they want to max out this opportunity.”
KRIENER’S COMING OUT PARTY IN THE GARDEN
Sophomore Ryan Kriener played just six minutes in Wednesday’s victory over Illinois. He followed it up with a near career game. The Spirit Lake, Iowa, native scored seven points in just six minutes in the first half and he finished with 14 points, one shy of matching a career-high. Kriener made 6-of-7 field goals in the game.
- Iowa out-rebounded Michigan, 44-42.
- The Hawkeye reserves out-scored their Michigan counterparts, 26-20.
- Michigan struggled from 3-point range, but made up for it at the rim. The Wolverines scored 48 points in the paint compared to 34 for Iowa.
- Iowa finishes its season with a 14-19 overall record.