Uthoff reached the second highest point total of his college career, scoring 29 points as the Hawkeyes snapped out of their recent skid with a 71-61 victory over MI at the Crisler Center.
The only area of the game that MI controlled was on the backboard as it grabbed 28% of its missed shots and 89% of Iowa’s misses to outscore the Hawkeyes 15-4 in second chance points. (12.2), Zak Irvin (11.3), Duncan Robinson (11.2) and Mark Donnal (8.0). Iowa led all but the opening minute of the first half.
The victory assures Iowa (21-9 overall, 12-6 Big Ten) of being no worse than the No. 5 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament. It ended a four-game losing streak in the team’s regular-season finale. “We kept the lead; that was good”. MI (20-11, 10-8) scored the next 10 points, but Gesell halted that run with his steal and layup. “We need to play together, have a positive vibe and go out there (Ann Arbor) and win”. “When he’s playing like that, it changes everything for us”, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
“What team wouldn’t be hurt?” “We came out cooking”, Uthoff said. “We just know that those minutes that they have and experience that they have is irreplaceable”.
Iowa got enough production in the areas where it’s most effective – Jarrod Uthoff jumpers, off-ball screens for Peter Jok and transition opportunities – to pull away with the win. The Hawkeyes sat at the top of the conference standings in mid-February but have faltered down the stretch by dropping five of their last six games, including an 81-78 loss to 11th-ranked in on Tuesday, to fall out of contention for the Big Ten regular-season title. That’s only happened two other times for the Hawkeyes, in 1982 and 1988.
The Wolverines don’t have a run-stopper and frankly just didn’t have the offensive firepower to score against an Iowa defense that had been beaten up over its last six games. It was actually Michigan’s offense that cost the Wolverines. The Wolverines attempted 34 shots from behind the arc and only connected on eight of them. “He was a big difference”, MI coach John Beilein said.
“I think we have to play really well in this tournament right now”, he said.
Walton, Jr., led the Wolverines with 14 points and six assists.
The Wolverines scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to 59-54 with 6:13 to play.
And so was the rest of the Iowa basketball team. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
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