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Hawkeyes’ atrocious start dooms them at Michigan

BY BRENDAN STILES | FEBRUARY 01, 2010 7:30 AM

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Against Ohio State, the Iowa men’s basketball team failed to finish. On Jan. 30 against Michigan, the Hawkeyes’ poor start sealed their fate in a 60-46 loss to the Wolverines in Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The defeat dropped Iowa to 8-14 overall, and the Hawkeyes now sit at the halfway point in the Big Ten portion of their schedule with a 2-7 conference mark.

Michigan immediately jumped out to a 13-0 lead before Eric May sank two free throws at the 13:10 mark for the Hawkeyes’ first points of the contest.

“They were just way tougher than us in this game,” sophomore Aaron Fuller said during a postgame radio interview.

The Wolverines continued to dominate at both ends of the floor, and the Hawkeyes continued to struggle. Although the halftime deficit was only 12 points for Iowa, the Hawkeyes shot an abysmal 21 percent from the field in the first half.

While Iowa had nothing go its way, Michigan received significant contributions from its two best players. Senior forward DeShawn Sims owned the inside, posting 20 points and 12 rebounds to lead the way for the Wolverines. Junior Manny Harris also emerged with 20 points for Michigan.

In fact, the duo of Sims and Harris alone outscored Iowa in the first half, 18-17.

“Let’s be quite honest: We’re only good if we do the non-skill things, if we block out,” Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter said during a postgame radio interview. “Well, they get 19 offensive rebounds. We turn around and try to out-jump them. We haven’t been doing that. But I guess I didn’t emphasize it enough.”

The second half of the contest showed more of an effort from Iowa. After committing three fouls and being a non-factor in the first 20 minutes, Fuller emerged in the second half and wound up leading the Hawkeyes in both scoring and rebounding with 16 points and eight boards.

But like everyone else, this defeat left a bitter taste in the Mesa, Ariz., native’s mouth.

“We got to definitely play tougher because this game was not us,” he said.

Iowa will return to action on Wednesday at home when it faces Illinois. The Fighting Illini come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on a two-game winning streak and possess a 6-3 Big Ten record.

One thing is clear — in order for the Hawkeyes to have any chance against Illinois, the effort has to improve immensely.

“We can’t think that there isn’t a team we can’t beat, but I got to tell you, there’s not a team where we can just show up and win. There’s nobody in the Big Ten like that,” Lickliter said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong with having to prepare well, work hard, and earn a victory? That’s the good part of it.

“We got to make adjustments, and I got to do my part. I’m not blaming the guys for everything. I got to do my part.”


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