Hot Hawkeyes Hold On In Overtime

Close games have been the calling card in this Big 10 season for the Hawks, so it seemed fitting that the final regular season game would go into OT. Iowa was 0-2 in OT this year, losing at top-ranked Illinois and the crushing loss at Northwestern back in late January. But Iowa would not be denied on this day, thanks to two offensive putbacks by Doug Thomas in the extra session, and four straight free throws down the stretch from Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner as Iowa won 74-72 in Ann Arbor.

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It was just the fourth win by an Iowa team at Michigan since 1971, as Crisler Arena has been the most inhospitable arena for the Hawkeyes in all the Big Ten conference.

With its third win in a row, Iowa finishes the regular season 19-10 and 7-9 in conference play. Though they closed strong, the Hawkeyes suffered their fifth losing conference season in the six years of the Steve Alford era.

Brunner led the Hawkeyes in scoring with 22 points, followed by 17 from Adam Haluska and 15 from Horner. Thomas scored six key points and grabbed a team high eight rebounds in 24 minutes of actions, and was very key down the stretch as previously mentioned.

Horner played 44 of a possible 45 minutes, and Haluska played 34 minutes, as he was saddled with his fourth foul with just under than 15 minutes to go in the second half.

Iowa built a nine-point first half lead only to see the Wolverines regain the lead just before the intermission. But Jack Brownlee hit a buzzer beating three-pointer just before the first half ended for the second straight game to give the Hawkeyes a one-point lead.

Iowa led by six points in the second half before two three-point goals by Michigan. Neither team led by more than three points in the final 9:44 of regulation, as there were several lead changes and ties in this contest.

With time winding down and the game tied, Jeff Horner missed a fade away 18-footer as time expired in regulation from the same spot on the floor where he made the game winner against Ohio State on Wednesday night.

Thomas opened the scoring in overtime with a putpack, but Dion Harris hit a three, giving Michigan a one-point lead. Brunner made one of two free throws to tie it and Thomas put back another Hawkeye miss to give Iowa a 68-66 lead with 1:49 remaining in OT.

Iowa got the ball back and Brunner went to the line where he calmly made two free throws. After a Graham Brown basket cut Iowa's lead to two points, Jeff Horner was fouled and hit both free throws. Brent Petway hit a basket, cutting Iowa's lead to two points.

Iowa inbounded the ball to Jack Brownlee, but Michigan was unable to foul him. Brownlee found a streaking Adam Haluska, who passed it to Mike Henderson on the block for a layup. Michigan hit a meaningless basket as time expired, as the Hawkeyes held on for the win.

For the game, Iowa shot 47 percent to 42 percent for Michigan. Iowa was +5 on the boards for the game and committed 15 turnovers to Michigan's 14. For the second straight game, free throws made the difference for Iowa, as the Hawks made 18 of 25 compared to 11 of 17 for a bigger Michigan team.

Horner has six assists to just one turnover on the game, and Mike Henderson had five steals.

Iowa needs both Ohio State and Northwestern to lose their games today in order to secure the 6th seed in the Big Ten tournament, a slot them desperately want. Ohio State plays Illinois and Northwestern travels to Indiana.

When the Hawkeyes made their miraculous run of winning four games in four days in the 2001 Big Ten tournament, they came out of the six hole.

Iowa recorded just its third three-game regular season conference-winning streak under Alford, and they have a chance to win four straight conference games for just the second time under Alford.

If they get the 6th seed, they would play Penn State next Thursday in Chicago, the site of the 2001 Big Ten tournament.

If Iowa does win one more game this season, it will be their 20th.


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