Michigan and Iowa both came into the night desperately trying to avoid loss number five in conference, as doing so would all but put a second place finish out of reach. Unfortunately for Michigan, they unable to keep pace with the hot-shooting Hawkeyes, and now their NCAA tournament hopes are hanging on by a thread.
Game of the Night: Iowa @ Michigan
Iowa ended up hitting 32-51 (62.7%) from the field Thursday night, en route to one of their best games of the season. It was a tight game early on, and one that looked like it would be a dog-fight as the two teams traded the lead in the first half. However, after the Wolverines took a 21-19 lead on a Spike Albrecht three, the Hawkeyes would go on to score the last 12 points of the half and take a 31-21 lead into halftime. The second half was a tough one for Michigan as the lead was never again below the 9-point mark and at one point was as high as 20 before the final horn sounded on the 72-54 victory for Iowa.
The most interesting portion of the half actually came from the rule book. Aaron White was given two technicals within a two-minute span, yet was allowed to stay in the game. White was first assessed a "Class A" tech for taunting Michigan's Ricky Doyle after he blocked his shot on the baseline, then he was T-ed up again for hanging on the rim after a dunk, this second technical is considered "Class B", due to the fact that it is not unsportsmanlike in nature, and "B" technicals do no count towards ejections.
Despite the technical fouls, White had quite the night for the Hawkeyes, scoring 13 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. In fact, the entire starting five for Iowa ended up scoring in double-figures: Peter Jok had 10, Mike Gesell had 14, Adam Woodbury had 11, and Jared Uthoff had 16, plus 9 rebounds. Michigan struggled on the interior against the bigger and more experienced Hawkeyes, but they did get a good performance from some of their guards. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 11 points, and Spike Albrecht scored 10 and dished out 5 assists, but it was Aubrey Dawkins who led the way with 16 points on 5-8 shooting and was the only Wolverine to shoot above 50% on the night. Both teams took care of the basketball, with each only committing six turnovers, but Iowa dominated the glass by a 33-17 margin.
Up next for Iowa is a matchup with Maryland at home, and a game that could really go a long way toward solidifying their spot in the tournament. For Michigan, they get a Sunday match-up with the Hoosiers down in Indiana. Another loss for the Wolverines and they might see their bubble completely burst after a difficult and injury-plagued season.