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COMMENTARY: Hawkeyes earned every bit of victory over Wolverines (premium)

Posted on 14. Jan, 2012 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Hawkeyes put together their best 40-minute effort of the season on Saturday and that led to a 75-59 upset of No. 13 Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday.

Yes, this was the best effort for 40 minutes. Now granted, Iowa has a bigger win on its resume beating then-No. 11 Wisconsin at the Kohl Center two weeks ago. But a large part of that was seizing momentum in the second half after the game was tied.

Aside from a brief moment in the first half where the Wolverines led 13-12, the Hawkeyes were the ones imposing their will from start to finish.

Sophomore forward Zach McCabe scored the first six points of the afternoon. Sitting in the arena, you could tell at that moment when Iowa was up 6-0 that the Hawkeyes came to play and that the effort was going to be astronomically better than it was against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State this past week.

This game had the makings of a potential upset, and that’s exactly what transpired. Michigan was ranked 13th and possessed a 4-1 record in Big Ten play. But all four of those victories came at home. The Wolverines hadn’t really impressed on the road yet this season and with a marquee game at home against Michigan State coming up, one could assume Michigan was caught looking past Iowa.

But with all that being said, there’s nothing that can be taken away from the Hawkeyes as far as what they did. They earned this win in just about every facet.

Michigan’s dynamic guard duo of sophomore Tim Hardaway, Jr. and freshman Trey Burke was practically non-existent, as was big man Jordan Morgan. Hardaway shot 3-of-12 and finished with nine points. Burke ended up with 19 points, but only played seven minutes in the first half due to foul trouble after he sunk a pair of 3s to get the Wolverine scoring going.

There were four other key moments that transpired in this game and summed up the Hawkeyes’ efforts. First was when the game was tied at 13-13. Freshman guard Josh Oglesby developed the hot hand and scored seven straight Iowa points to push the Hawkeyes back ahead for good. Second came in the final minute of the first half. Michigan trimmed the deficit to five points before Iowa pushed the lead back to 10 points at halftime following a last-second jumper by sophomore guard Devyn Marble.

In the second half, the Hawkeyes carried the momentum over and built their lead up 14 points at 40-26. The Wolverines got it down to 43-37, but Iowa came right back with seven points, forcing Michigan coach John Beilein to call a timeout with his team trailing by 13.

Finally, Iowa burned a timeout after Michigan hit an open 3 to trim the Hawkeye lead to 60-48. What followed was a monster 3-pointer from senior guard Matt Gatens, who played one of his best games Saturday. Not only did he have 19 points, but his play at the defensive end was the biggest reason why Hardaway was kept in check.

Now things get interesting. Iowa plays at Purdue on Jan. 17, then has nine days between games. If the Hawkeyes were to get out of Mackey Arena with a victory and get to 4-3 in Big Ten play with the more favorable portion of their schedule ahead, the possibility of this team finishing around .500 in Big Ten play looks more and more realistic.

We’re going to learn more about this team in a few days, but based off what transpired Saturday, Iowa has to feel pretty good about itself at this stage of the season.

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