By Pete Ruden
Iowa’s game against Michigan on Wednesday was nothing new. The Wolverines hit 12 3-pointers en route to a 74-59 win in Ann Arbor.
Michigan constantly let the ball go from deep from the beginning. The Wolverines attempted 20 shots from behind the arc in just the first half, hitting 7.
The Hawkeyes had the game somewhat within reach about midway through the second half when they cut the Wolverine lead to 9, but Michigan hit three-straight 3-pointers to end any hope of an Iowa comeback.
Duncan Robinson hit 6 shots from deep to drop 18 points, and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 18 on 7-of-13 shooting from the field.
Abdur-Rahkman had a solid game against the Hawkeyes, but Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery has long been impressed by his play.
“I’ve always thought he was good, I’ve always liked his game,” McCaffery said. “He’s a winning guy. He never turns it over, he shoots it well enough from 3 to set up his drive, he’s a hard cover off the dribble, he’s always in the right place on defense … He’s playing like a senior on a team that’s having a great year, so good for him.”
Iowa, on the other hand, shot just 28.6 percent from behind the arc, netting 2 of 7 attempts.
As a team, the Hawkeyes shot 48.1 percent from the floor, which masks how poor Iowa’s offense really was.
The 59 points Iowa put up is its second-worst mark in Big Ten play this season, as the Hawkeyes scored just 58 against Penn State on Feb. 3.
In the game against the Nittany Lions, point guard Jordan Bohannon took just three shots, because he was suffering from an illness.
Against Michigan, though, there wasn’t a big change. Bohannon took just five shots on the night, scoring 7 points. He did affect other parts of the game, however, recording 5 assists and 4 rebounds.
It was the second game in a row that Iowa was less-than-stellar as an offensive unit. When the Hawkeyes lost to Ohio State on Feb. 10, only two players scrambled their way into double figures.
On Wednesday, three players hit the mark, and again, only one player stood out.
Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook scored 12 and 10, respectively, but Luka Garza’s 22 took the spotlight. The 22 points are the most he has scored in a conference game this season.
Iowa has been a better team this season when Garza plays well, but he couldn’t propel the squad to victory.
His bright spot is a sign of good things to come in the future, though.
“Luka was tremendous,” McCaffery said. “He’s an incredible worker … He gives you a chance because he can really score the ball, and he’s a big presence inside defensively, and he does rebound, he does rebound in traffic. I was really proud of him tonight.”
Iowa also reverted to its early season ways in terms of turnovers. After taking care of the ball for the most part in recent games, the Hawkeyes gave the ball away 16 times with 12 coming in the first half, including a number of them early. Michigan went on to cash in for 20 points.
The Wolverines were tenacious on the defensive end, racking up 13 steals.
“What they do is they take those live-ball turnovers and turn them into points,” McCaffery said. “You can’t turn it over in the middle of the floor with a team with this kind of speed and a team that passes the ball this well.”