NEW YORK CITY- After struggling to consistently hit shots from behind the arc, Iowa sophomore Jordan Bohannon hit one of the biggest three-pointers of his young career with :16 seconds left to send the No. 12 seed Iowa into overtime against the No. 5 seed Michigan in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.
However, the Hawkeyes made just one field goal in the extra period and fell 77-71 to the Wolverines.
After going into the half with a 40-35 lead, Iowa floundered out of the break. Michigan began the second half on a 11-0 run and did not trail again until the start of overtime. The Wolverines’ lead grew as large as seven in the second half. But an 11-0 run by Iowa brought them within two at 53-51 with 9:52 remaining.
After trailing by six with just over two minutes left, Nicholas Baer made a three-pointer with :59 seconds left and Bohannon added his with :16 seconds remaining to send it to the extra period.
Four Hawkeyes finished in double-digits, led by Ryan Kriener’s team-high 14 points. Luka Garza and Tyler Cook each chipped in 13 points while Bohannon added 11.
Iowa trailed by as many as six points in the first half. But a 12-2 run gave the Hawkeyes a five-point lead, their largest if the game, at 38-33 with 1:04 left before the break.
Michigan was led by Charles Matthews’ game-high 16 points of 5-of-10 shooting from the field. Zavier Simpson added 12 while Moe Wagner and Duncan Robinson each scored 11 points.
Let’s see what we can takeaway from Michigan’s overtime victory.
What We Learned:
1. Michigan is “shockingly” a better team with MAAR and Wagner on the court
It is stating the obvious but with Moe Wagner and Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman limited with foul trouble, Michigan was not the same team.
Wagner played just 16 minutes, fouling out with 4:37 remaining and scored just 11 points. Abdur-Rahkman made it 22 minutes before being disqualified with two minutes left in overtime and only managed nine points.
To say that the Wolverines would have rolled over Iowa with their two best players at full capacity is unjust. The Hawkeyes did what they had to in order to stay within striking distance of Michigan. But if Wagner and Abdur-Rahkman played around the 28 minutes and 35 minutes that they have averaged up to this point, the Wolverines may have been able to put away Iowa sooner than they did.
2. It is time for Jordan Bohannon to learn to take over games
With the conclusion of Jordan Bohannon’s sophomore season, he has come to an impasse in his collegiate career. Entering his junior year, he can either continue the path he is on as a one-dimensional streaky shooter; or he can learn to expand his skill-set and take over games for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa could have really used the latter Thursday against Michigan. Don’t get me wrong, as a basketball fan watching Bohannon pull up from 30 feet out and nailing shots is exciting. However, when he can’t make those shots, he becomes a pariah.
As the Hawkeyes continued to stay within single digits of Michigan, Bohannon continued to shoot and continued to struggle. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting and 3-of-11 from behind the arc.
One of Bohannon’s three made long-distance shots with did send the Hawkeyes into overtime. However, he proceeded to fade in the extra period going 0-for-3 from the field. And that speaks to where he is as a player right now. Bohannon has the ability to take over games. Expanded his game can contribute to that in an ever-more important 2018-19 junior season.
3. Michigan can survive when struggling to hit three-pointers
Michigan has been titled with being a team known to “live by or die by the three”. In their worst shooting efforts from behind the arc this season, the Wolverines were able to overcome their shooting woes to advance to the Quarterfinals.
The Wolverines finished 3-of-19 from behind the arc falling just one three-pointer short of their previous season low in a loss at Nebraska on Jan 18.
Despite all this, there was one shooter that could come out of the game with his head high. Duncan Robinson was the only player to connect on a shot from behind the arc for the Wolverines with each coming in big spots.
The first gave Michigan a 56-51 lead with 9:32 remaining. The second gave the Wolverines a 59-51 lead with 7:46 left. And the final one gave Michigan a 72-70 lead with 2:17 remaining in overtime.
For Michigan to come out with a win against an inferior opponent after a poor shooting effort, it shows they can make a run in March.
The name of the game is “survive and advance”. The Wolverines survived and have advanced to play Nebraska Friday afternoon.
With Michigan advancing to play Nebraska tomorrow afternoon at 2:30, it sets up an interesting “revenge game” opportunity. The Cornhuskers pummeled the Wolverines at home in mid-January. However, it should be noted that Michigan was coming off just one day of rest. Add that with a potential semi-final matchup against Michigan State and the Wolverines should be more than geared up for Friday’s game.
For Iowa, the attention now turns to Fran McCaffery. The Hawkeyes’ head coach started to recieve questions about his job security towards the end of the regular season slate and now he may have to sit through an off-season of questioning. However, let me defend McCaffery. Iowa is in a rebuilding year. They lost four seniors from last season’s roster and were not expected to contend. McCaffery has done tremendous things in his tenure at Iowa and does not deserve to get the “heave-hoe”....yet.