Michigan basketball team coasts to a double-digit win over Iowa, 60-46
Mark Bialek | For AnnArbor.com
Michigan knew it needed one like this - a game never in doubt after the first few minutes, one where the final minutes weren’t stomach churning and acid reflux-inducing, but rather a win in which the Wolverines coasted to the end.
After three straight games - and the majority of a season - of finishes and games like the former, Michigan led big early and throughout its 60-46 win over Iowa in a game that wasn't that close.
“They kind of challenged us beforehand and said ‘We’ll see what you guys are made of,’” sophomore guard Zack Novak said. “And we got the job done.”
In many ways, Iowa (8-14 overall, 2-7 Big Ten) made it easy. The Hawkeyes didn’t have a field goal in the first nine minutes. They played sloppy and out of control. Their shots were off wildly - and even when they’d hit the rim, they’d roll out.
By the time Michigan reached its third media timeout, it had already taken control with a 22-5 game-opening run that essentially ended it before it started.
Everywhere, Michigan dominated. The Wolverines were a rare force rebounding, grabbing 44 boards, including 19 on the offensive end. They didn’t shoot particularly well - 36.2 percent for the game - but got layups and multiple attempts on single possessions for one of the few times all year.
It ended up being the most offensive rebounds for Michigan (11-10, 4-5) since Feb. 21, 2008, when the Wolverines grabbed 23 offensive boards in a 69-60 loss to Minnesota.
The number seemed to startle Michigan coach John Beilein.
“Nineteen offensive rebounds, wow,” Beilein said, opening his press conference. “Just looking at the stats, it wasn’t a great offensive showing, but that’s what you had to be able to do.”
Much of that came from senior forward DeShawn Sims, who had another good game against Iowa. Entering the game, Sims had averaged 14 points and 4.6 rebounds in seven games against the Hawkeyes.
He left it with better numbers after scoring 20 points - the third time in four games he’s had 20 or more - and 12 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. Sims was
Michigan’s catalyst Saturday, scoring nine of the Wolverines’ first 19 points, which helped blow the game open.
Sims had help, as usual, from junior guard Manny Harris, who also had 20 points along with six rebounds.
“It’s good,” Sims said. “It gives you some leeway and definitely some confidence. Winning the game is also the ultimate thing but (the start) is something that we hope for.”
On Saturday, Michigan got it Â¬- both in the good start it craved and in the leeway it provided. Rarely this season have the Wolverines started off the game strong and then held on to a double-digit win. Earlier, they had lost games in which they had double-digit first half leads at Wisconsin and at home to Northwestern.
Iowa, though, never made a run until it was way out of hand.
Michigan used good defense in the first half - Iowa shot 21.4 percent from both the field and three-point line - to take a 29-17 lead they eventually extended to 24 points with 7:28 left in the second half.
“It was huge,” sophomore guard Stu Douglass said. “We’ve talked about these last 10 games, we’ve kind of set a new goal in the last 10 games going into the Big Ten tournament. We just wanted to come out early and set the tone.
“We didn’t want to sulk and cry about what happened at Michigan State and we were successful.”