Hawkeyes down Michigan, 72-54


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If people had called Iowa’s contest with Michigan a must-win, they would not have been wrong. It was the first of 10 remaining games on Iowa’s regular-season schedule, and the Hawkeyes traveled to Ann Arbor riding a three-game losing streak.

Regardless of whether it was, in fact, a must-win, the Hawks took care of business on the road in the form of a 72-54 win Thursday night to make the Hawkeyes 14-8, 5-4 in the Big Ten.

“It’s huge in this league because it’s so good; you know, top-to-bottom, it’s so strong,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said after Iowa’s first win in the Crisler Center since 2008. “Every team that you play has great players and has the ability to beat you. And you go on the road and get a couple wins, that’s tremendous.”

After a relatively back-and-forth beginning to the game, Iowa benefited from two things. First, the Hawkeyes exploited their height advantage near the basket, ending the first half with 20 points in the paint. Of course, it helped Iowa that the Wolverines (13-10, 6-5) couldn’t buy a basket to save their lives.

The last basket in the first half for head coach John Beilein’s squad came at the 6:58 mark in the form of a Spike Albrecht 3-pointer that put the Wolverines up 21-19. The Wolverines got a pair of free throws from Aubrey Dawkins on their first possession of the second half and finally hit a field goal with 18:06 remaining in the second half, ending a field-goal drought that spanned nearly nine minutes.

The Hawkeyes finished the first half on a 12-0 run, with Aaron White scoring 6 of his 7 first-half points during that stretch. The other 6 came from Adam Woodbury, Jarrod Uthoff, and Gabe Olaseni. Including the time after the break, the Hawkeyes went on a 23-4 run, which put the game out of reach for Michigan.

The Wolverines only managed to get the game back to single digits once in the second period, as Iowa’s offense worked the ball into the paint and finished with 42 points from inside the 3-point arc.

The only time Michigan got any shred of momentum was around the nine-minute mark.

White was given two technical fouls in the contest; the first came after he blocked a Ricky Doyle lay-up attempt down low. A handful of possessions later, White got a pass from Mike Gesell on the baseline, dunked the ball, and pulled himself up on the rim. The latter was ruled a class-two technical, and White was not ejected from the game.

The Wolverines had the game within 9 points, but Uthoff responded with a triple, putting the brakes on the mini-run.

“Anytime you’re up double digits and they get it under, and then you can put it right back up on the next possession, that’s obviously a huge momentum thing,” McCaffery said.

All five Hawkeye starters finished the game with double-digit scoring, and Uthoff led the way with 16 points on 7-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. The Cedar Rapids native also pulled in a game-high 9 boards.

Iowa shot 62.7 percent from the field (32-of-51), and the Wolverines hit a lowly 19-of-47 (40.4 percent).

Iowa is scheduled to return to action Feb. 8 in Carver-Hawkeye against Maryland. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:21 p.m., and the game will be televised on Big Ten Network.

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.

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