The Michigan Wolverines traveled to Iowa City Saturday riding high on a five-game winning streak that propelled them to their first national ranking in eight years and put them in a three-way tie atop the conference standings. The defense of their home floor against Michigan State and Wisconsin last week was further proof of just how tough it is to win on the road against the Big Ten's upper-echelon. The Maize and Blue looked to buck that trend in Carver Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon, and for a while they were on track to do just that. Unfortunately for Tommy Amaker and company, breakdowns on both ends of the court caused them to suffer their worst defeat of the season.
Things got off to a good start for the Maize and Blue, with Daniel Horton scoring eight straight points to put the Wolverines up 10-6 at the 16:29 mark. That lead was pushed to eight points minutes later when Brent Petway came off the bench to hit a lay-up followed by a turnaround jumper. That, however, was as big as the advantage would get. Thanks to some blistering three-point shooting, the Hawkeyes gradually started to eat away at the deficit.
Iowa converted its next three filed goals from long range, (two of which came off the hand of guard Mike Henderson), to cut trim the lead to one by the 10:23 mark. Dion Harris sparked a 7-2 run with a three-pointer to push the Wolverines lead back to six, but Steve Alford's squad wasn't to be denied. Tony Freeman hit a three to ignite another Hawkeye spurt and Jeff Horner hit one to end it. When the dust settled, Iowa had outscored the Wolverines 11-4 over a two-and-a-half minute span to take their first lead of the game, 28-27. Graham Brown quickly regained the advantage for the Wolverines, but by then the Iowa onslaught had begun. The Hawkeyes outscored Michigan 14-5 in the last three minutes of the half to head into the locker room up 42-34.
Things didn't get much better for the Wolverines after the intermission. Iowa outscored the Maize and Blue 13-2 in the first five minutes of the second half, and the rout was officially on. Adam Haluska continued the Hawkeyes hot shooting from deep with three more triples to help his team go 13/18 from long range. That 68.4% clip from deep was only marginally better than their 65.3% shooting accuracy from inside the arc. The Wolverines obvious defensive struggles were matched by an equally poor offensive showing. Tommy Amaker's club shot only 6/22 from long range and 16/28 from the free throw line. When time finally expired the Wolverines had gotten blasted 94-66 on the road.
On the game Michigan was led by Daniel Horton with 19 points and three assists. His consecutive free throw streak finally came to an end at 42, just six shy of the Big Ten record. He was 8/9 on the afternoon. Adam Haluska led five Hawkeyes in double figures with 18 points and five assists. For more on the game, click the following links: Boxscore, Notes & Quotes.
"When things go the way they went for us this afternoon it just snowballs and I'm not sure we were tough enough to pull ourselves out of it today," Amaker said after the game. "But certainly you could see that things were contagious on both sides of the ball. I thought it was contagious by them shooting and contagious for us by the way that we played. We did a lot of things to help them find [their shooting stroke], but you have to give them credit. They certainly blew the game open at the end of the first half; got some momentum and got the lead going into halftime. But they shot guys out of it from tap to buzzer, and I'm disappointed in a lot of things about our team this afternoon. But you certainly have to look at what the Hawkeyes did on their home floor. They had tremendous, tremendous effort out of their kids."
Michigan will look to get back on track Thursday, when they take on the 20th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Crisler Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm.