Michigan gets ‘mojo going’ in Big Ten tournament opener. Here’s how


CHICAGO – When Michigan basketball is on, this is what it looks like.

The Wolverines eviscerated Iowa in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals Friday night at the United Center, winning 74-53 in a game that was over early in the second half.

Five different players scored in double digits. Iowa’s first 3-point make came with 1:08 remaining in the game. Michigan made 10 of its first 22 3s and had 24 assists against seven turnovers.

It was a vintage March performance from the Wolverines, and a complete turnaround from their first game against the Hawkeyes, a 74-59 loss in Iowa City on Feb. 1.

Michigan entered this week with a chance to recapture momentum after finishing the final 10 games with a 6-4 record and two deflating losses to rival Michigan State.

Friday’s demolition was the first step in doing so.

“We really responded from the very beginning,” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “I loved the way we came out, and it sustained itself.”

The big differences: Michigan shot well and took apart Iowa’s zone, which held the Wolverines to a paltry 0.82 points per possession in February; and center Jon Teske avoided foul trouble.

The Hawkeyes said after the first game their plan was to attack Teske and force him out of the game. They had the same approach Friday and found some success down low, but Teske didn’t pick up a foul in the first half in 14 good minutes.

“(Teske) played really smart basketball to stay in the game,” Beilein said. “We all did.”

The crucial stretch came in the first half, after one of Michigan’s patented scoring droughts that saw the Wolverines score one point over 6:19.

Michigan missed eight consecutive shots over that stretch against Iowa’s zone, which gave the Wolverines plenty of trouble back in February.

And then they snapped out of it.

Eli Brooks came off the bench to hit a 3 with 8:14 left in the first half, as Michigan ripped off a 22-10 run and took a 40-27 lead into the locker room.

[ Michigan rediscovers its offense in rout of Iowa, but will it last? ]

The Wolverines found the soft spots in Iowa’s zone over and over, Isaiah Livers hit four straight shots in the first half and Zavier Simpson tallied eight first-half assists.

“If you look at our last game against them, we came down, shot a shot, came down, shot a shot,” said Michigan assistant coach DeAndre Haynes. “We didn’t have any flow. We had no rhythm or anything. So we told ourselves to slow it down a little bit. Let’s get what we want. Let’s make the right plays, let’s take the right shots.”

Zavier Simpson drives against Iowa’s Tyler Cook on Friday. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)

It was an offensive clinic on how to beat a zone defense. Of course, making 7-of-16 3s in the first half helped, too.

The Hawkeyes had a chance to get back into the game early in the second half, when Charles Matthews – …read more

Source:: Daily times


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