Hawkeyes fall to Michigan in overtime


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It looked real.

Not even three weeks after getting crushed in Ann Arbor, Mich., it appeared the Iowa men’s basketball team would conquer a Michigan squad it had previously struggled against.

But in a blink, what looked like a Hawkeye victory on Tuesday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena disappeared.

A 3-pointer by Michigan’s DeShawn Sims with seven seconds left sent the game to overtime, and there, the Wolverines did enough to escape Iowa City with an 80-78 win over the Hawkeyes.

The loss now puts Iowa at 9-18 overall, and more importantly, leaves the squad 3-11 in Big Ten play.
Iowa lost despite solid efforts from sophomores Aaron Fuller and Matt Gatens. Fuller finished with career-highs in both scoring and rebounds — 30 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 13 boards.

Gatens had 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting for the Hawkeyes and also hauled in eight rebounds.

“We felt like we had something to prove in this game,” Fuller said. “I thought we played great this whole game, and they just made some tough shots. I really wish it had gone our way. I felt like we did everything right for the most part.”

Early on, it was all Fuller; he scored the first eight points of the evening for Iowa. In fact, the Mesa, Ariz., native finished the first half with 16 points, matching his total in the Hawkeyes’ previous meeting with Michigan on Jan. 30.

For the Wolverines, the dynamic Detroit duo of Sims and junior Manny Harris came up big for Michigan. Sims finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Harris notched 20 points and 10 boards.

Sims, who has developed a reputation for being a Hawkeye killer, struck in the final minutes of regulation. When Iowa built a 61-57 lead and 1:29 left on the clock, Sims scored the last nine points in regulation for the Wolverines, including the game-tying 3-pointer that silenced an excited crowd.

After the game, Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter defended his decision to not foul before Sims took the shot, which would have put Michigan in a 1-and-1 and still behind.

“There was 14 seconds to go, and it was early,” Lickliter said. “With a 3, it goes to overtime, and you have a chance to probably score, whereas if you foul, and they make two free throws, they foul you, and you miss, now they got a chance to win in regulation.

“There was a debate going on. Normally, with less time, you would foul.”

In the final seconds of regulation, Iowa had a chance to win, and Fuller went to the basket. Contact was made, but a foul wasn’t called.

“They were going to let us play physical,” Fuller said. “They weren’t going to just call any foul there.”

In the extra five-minute session, Iowa moved ahead, 72-70, before Michigan’s Stu Douglass hit a go-ahead 3-pointer for the Wolverines with 1:45 remaining. From there, the Wolverines sank free throws and move ahead, 78-75, with 13.3 seconds left.

Iowa then called a play for Gatens to cut to the basket.

“We thought we still had time to lay it in,” Lickliter said. “If he lays it in and gets fouled, there’s three the old-fashioned way. We thought we still had time to attack.”

The Hawkeyes now have the next eight days off before returning to the court on Feb. 25 at Northwestern, which Iowa beat, 78-65, on Feb. 10.

“It’s been a grind here, and to get the eight days off I think is really going to help us out,” Gatens said.

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