'It's deja vu': Tough start hounds Michigan in loss at Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa — It didn't take long for an eerily familiar scenario to unfold.
Starting guard Jordan Poole and center Jon Teske each picked up a foul and found themselves on the bench roughly 90 seconds into Friday’s contest at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
It proved to be the start of a foul-filled game that limited several key players and threw No. 5 Michigan's offense off course in a 74-59 loss to Iowa.
"In 2012-13 we came in here with a national championship-level team and same result, Trey Burke in foul trouble," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "In 2013-14, we came in here with a Big Ten championship team, the same with Derrick Walton. Guys like this having tough games, same score.
"It's deja vu all over again."
Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis and Poole each scored 16 and junior guard Zavier Simpson had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Michigan (20-2, 9-2 Big Ten), which tied a season high with 20 fouls and saw Teske foul out after playing 13 minutes.
To make matters worse, Michigan sent Iowa to the line 24 times, shot a season-low 32.3 percent (21-for-65) from the field — with half the attempts (8-for-33) coming from 3-point range — and was outscored 24-3 in bench points.
After a first half that saw Teske (one minute) and sixth man Isaiah Livers (three minutes) combine to play four minutes and Michigan's lack of depth get exposed, the Wolverines started stringing together stops in the second half.
The problem was they couldn’t shake their cold shooting, missing eight of their first 10 shots and struggling to finish around the rim before Iowa pushed its lead to 48-33 with 15:51 to go.
But Michigan dug in and didn’t fold. The Wolverines pushed back with a 14-4 spurt to pull within five and make the packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd uncomfortable.
After Simpson sank two free throws to trim the deficit to 50-41, redshirt junior wing Charles Matthews and Livers tacked on 3-pointers to help cut it to seven before Teske scored on a tip-in to make it 54-49 with 9:43 to go.
Iowa answered with back-to-back baskets from Luka Garza to reestablish a double-digit advantage with 8:56 to go. That ignited a 13-2 run that stifled the Wolverines and put the Hawkeyes back comfortably in control, 67-51, with 5:18 remaining.
By the time Brazdeikis ended the run with a layup at the 5:06 mark, it proved to be too little too late. Michigan could only connect on two of 10 3-pointers down the stretch and trailed by at least 11 points the rest of the way.
"To be together in a game of this magnitude and compete and overcome — couldn't make a shot early. And couldn't make a shot to start the second half. We didn't let them get away from us," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
"We felt like we needed to mix up defenses, which we did very well. The zone, the press and the man-to-man were all good. And we thought we were going to need our bench. And our bench was terrific tonight. And that's what you need if you're going to beat Michigan."
Garza finished with 19 points, Joe Wieskamp scored 16 and Ryan Kriener had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Iowa (17-5, 6-5), which won the rebounding battle 48-36 and finished with 40 points in the paint.
Despite the early whistles and playing significant stretches without Poole, Teske and Livers, Brazdeikis shouldered the load and scored the first seven points to help Michigan pull even at 11 with 12:41 left in the half.
Shortly after that, Poole and Teske returned but Teske lasted all of one possession. Iowa was able to corral an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and Tyler Cook drove right at Teske to draw a second foul at the 11:42 mark.
"(Teske's) first foul was a careless foul where he's reaching, the shot clock is down. We've seen it before and Jon has got to learn from that," Beilein said. "That does not help his team when he comes out because we don't have this plethora of bigs coming in behind him who have his experience. That was a big foul and sort of changed the whole first half."
The Wolverines managed to take a 17-12 lead after a 3-pointer from Brazdeikis capped a quick 6-0 spurt. But with Livers and Teske planted on the bench most of the first half, Iowa was eventually able to take advantage of their absence on both ends with a 21-2 run over a 5-minute span.
The Hawkeyes did most of the damage in the paint and started the flurry with 13 unanswered points, the final six coming at the rim. After Poole was able to temporarily stop the bleeding, Iowa capped it with a 3-pointer from Nicholas Baer to put Michigan in its largest hole all season, 33-19, at the 5:47 mark.
Poole tried to shoot Michigan back into it with back-to-back 3-pointers, but the Wolverines couldn’t slow down the Hawkeyes and found themselves in unfamiliar territory with a 42-29 halftime deficit.
"Around this time we had (six) losses last year. So, it feels a lot different losing since it's only our second loss of the season," Livers said. "We're trying to perfect everything. We have super high standards for our team.
"There ain't no secret, we didn't play well tonight."