Michigan coach talks about his team’s performance in Friday’s 74-59 road loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
James Hawkins, The Detroit News
Iowa City, Iowa — It didn’t take long for an eerily familiar feeling to set in.
Starting guard Jordan Poole and center Jon Teske each picked up a foul and found themselves on the bench roughly 90 seconds into Friday’s contest at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It proved to be a sign of things to come and the start of a foul-filled first half that threw No. 5 Michigan off course in a 74-59 loss to Iowa.
“In 2012-13 we came in here with a national championship-level team and same result, Trey Burke in foul trouble,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “In 2013-14, we came in here with a Big Ten championship team, the same with Derrick Walton. Guys like this having tough games, same score.
“It’s deja vu all over again.”
Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis and Poole each scored 16 and junior guard Zavier Simpson had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for No. 5 Michigan (20-2, 9-2 Big Ten), which tied a season high with 20 fouls and had Teske foul out after 13 minutes.
To make matters worse, Michigan sent Iowa to the line 24 times and shot a season-low 32.3 percent (21-for-65) from the field, with half the attempts (8-for-33) coming from 3-point range.
After having to dive deep into the bench and trailing by as much 14 in the first 20 minutes, the Wolverines started stringing together stops in the second half.
The problem was they couldn’t do much on the other end, missing eight of their first 10 shots and struggling to finish around the rim before Iowa pushed its lead to 48-33 with 15:51 to go.
But Michigan dug in and didn’t fold. The Wolverines pushed back with a 14-4 spurt to pull within five and make the packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd uncomfortable.
After Simpson sank two free throws to trim the deficit to 50-41, redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews and sophomore forward Isaiah Livers tacked on 3-pointers before Teske scored on a tip-in to make it 54-49 with 9:43 to go.
Iowa answered with back-to-back baskets from Luka Garza that quickly pushed the lead back to double digits and ignited a 13-2 run that stifled the Wolverines and put the Hawkeyes back in control, 67-51, with 5:18 remaining.
By the time Brazdeikis ended the run with a layup at the 5:06 mark, Michigan kept the door open by turning to a press and forcing Iowa to turn it over five times over the next 90 seconds.
Michigan could only connect on two of 10 3-pointers down the stretch while Iowa closed the door on any thoughts of a comeback, with a basket from Garza and four free throws in the final 2:13 to trigger a court-storming celebration.
“To be together in a game of this magnitude and compete and overcome — couldn’t make a shot early. And couldn’t make a shot to start the second half. We didn’t let them get away from us,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
“We felt like we needed to mix up defenses, which we did very well. The zone, the press and the man-to-man were all good. And we thought we were going to need our bench. And our bench was terrific tonight. And that’s what you need if you’re going to beat Michigan.”
Garza finished with 19 points, Joe Wieskamp scored 16 and Ryan Kriener had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Iowa (17-5, 6-5), which won the rebounding battle 48-36 and finished with 40 points in the paint.
The whistles were out in force early and it didn’t take long for foul trouble to mount for Michigan. Poole and Teske each picked up a foul by the 18:27 mark and Livers picked up two fouls in roughly a minute after checking in for Teske.
Iowa didn’t fare much better with three players drawing whistles in first four minutes and Garza sitting the final 13:22 of the half after picking up his second foul.
Despite being forced to play nearly seven minutes without Poole and Teske, Michigan was able to weather the storm with Brazdeikis shouldering the load and scoring the first seven points to keep it tied at 11 with 12:41 left in the half.
Shortly after that, Poole and Teske returned but Teske lasted all of one possession. After Iowa was able to corral an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, Tyler Cook drew a second foul on Teske at the 11:42 mark.
“(Teske’s) first foul was a careless foul where he’s reaching, the shot clock is down. We’ve seen it before and Jon has got to learn from that,” Beilein said. “That does not help his team when he comes out because we don’t have this plethora of bigs coming in behind him who have his experience. That was a big foul and sort of changed the whole first half.”
The defense still kept Michigan close and the Wolverines managed to take a 17-12 lead after a 3-pointer from Brazdeikis capped a quick 6-0 spurt.
But with Livers and Teske both planted on the bench, Iowa was eventually able to take advantage of their absences and a cold shooting stretch by Michigan with a 21-2 run over a 5-minute span.
The Hawkeyes did most of the damage in the paint and started the flurry with 13 unanswered points, the final six coming at the rim. After Poole was able to temporarily stop the bleeding, Iowa capped it with a 3-pointer from Nicholas Baer to make it 33-19 and put Michigan in its largest hole all season with 5:47 left.
Poole did his best to shoot Michigan back into it with back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Wolverines couldn’t get stops on defense and continued to get pounded down low en route to a 42-29 halftime deficit.
“Around this time we had like seven losses last year. So, it feels a lot different losing since it’s only our second loss of the season,” Livers said. “We have super high standards for our team. But there ain’t no secret. We didn’t play well tonight, and we’ve got to move on to the next game.”