IOWA CITY — You know all that momentum, confidence and warm, fuzzy feelings the Iowa basketball team built up over the past few weeks?
It took Michigan about 10 minutes to squash it all like a bug on the sidewalk Tuesday night.
The Wolverines crushed the Hawkeyes’ five-game winning streak under a torrent of 3-point field goals and easy baskets, rolling to a 75-68 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena that further deepens the hole Iowa dug for itself at the start of Big Ten play a month ago.
The Hawkeyes are now 0-3 in league play, 9-7 overall, and desperately in need of a victory when an improved Ohio State team comes to town Thursday night.
Michigan (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten) got big contributions out of some unexpected sources in registering its sixth straight win.
Reserve guard Zavier Simpson matched a career high with 15 points, handed out seven assists and did a solid defensive job on Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon. Freshman Isaiah Livers scored in double figures for the first time in his college career, netting 13 points and knocking down three timely 3-point field goals.
Veteran guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman also played a key role with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
But the Hawkeyes felt they contributed heavily to their own undoing.
“I just don’t think our effort and our energy were there early in the game and that affects multiple parts of the game, both offensively and defensively,’’ said sophomore Tyler Cook, who led both teams with 28 points. “As a unit, our mindset wasn’t there to take the game …
“We weren’t locked in and focused on the game plan,’’ he added. “We had all the information in front of us but we didn’t execute it.’’
Teammate Cordell Pemsl thought the recent five-game winning streak may have gone to the Hawkeyes’ heads.
“I think it’s just a mental thing,’’ he said. “I think we were just, I guess, over-confident coming into the game. It’s not that we were looking down on Michigan, but we had that win streak and we knew if we did what we needed to do that we could get it done.’’
The Hawkeyes did do OK for a few minutes, forcing five early turnovers and opening a 10-7 lead.
Then everything fell apart.
Michigan made nine of its next 10 field goal attempts, including six 3-pointers, and went on a 22-4 scoring run to open a 29-14 lead. The Hawkeyes never were closer than seven points the rest of the way.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was visibly frustrated on several occasions, decimating at least one clipboard and screaming at his team wildly during a timeout with 8 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the half.
“It was a variety of things,’’ McCaffery said in a calmer tone following the game. “It wasn’t just our defense. It certainly appeared that way … We weren’t connected, but our offense was sputtering. We had consecutive misses. We weren’t moving the ball.
“It was kind of like ‘Go ahead, TC. Go score.’ They were doubling him. He was terrific, he was great, but we’ve got to make sure we can play off of him a little bit more.’’
Led by Cook, the Hawkeyes chopped the margin to eight (35-27) but a 13-3 Michigan run made it 48-30. It was 48-36 at halftime and the Hawkeyes quickly sliced the margin to 48-41 early in the second half only to have the Wolverines pull away again.’’
“When you get into a hole like that against a good team like Michigan, it’s hard to come back,’’ Cook said.
Another 9-0 run in which Abdur-Rahkman scored the last seven points made it a 17-point game with six minutes to go.
“Today we couldn’t miss,’’ said Michigan coach John Beilein, whose team shot 62.1 percent in the first half before cooling off in the final 20 minutes. “Our bench was solid today and really helped us because Mo (Wagner) and Duncan (Robinson) didn’t have some things.’’
Beilein said the defensive strategy called for his team to focus on Bohannon, who burned the Wolverines in an Iowa victory last season. They were content to let Cook score a few points this time as long as Bohannon didn’t go off.
“We were not going to let that happen again,’’ Beilein said.
Bohannon still managed to hit four 3-pointers and score 12 points, but both he and his coach admitted the game constituted “a backward step.’’
“It was, but the competition’s better,’’ McCaffery said. “They’ve got really good players. But we somehow fought to stay in even though we weren’t really very good at either end of the floor.’’
Michigan 75, Iowa 68
MICHIGAN (13-3) — M.Wagner 2-6 0-0 4, Brooks 0-0 0-0 0, Abdur-Rahkman 5-13 2-2 15, Matthews 5-11 3-4 14, Robinson 1-5 2-2 5, Livers 5-6 0-0 13, Teske 3-5 0-0 6, Simpson 6-9 1-2 15, Poole 1-2 0-0 3, Watson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-57 8-10 75.
IOWA (9-7) — Baer 1-1 0-2 3, Nunge 1-3 0-0 2, Cook 10-15 8-11 28, Bohannon 4-11 0-0 12, Moss 2-4 2-2 6, Garza 3-8 0-0 6, Pemsl 2-3 2-2 6, A.Wagner 0-0 0-0 0, Kriener 0-1 0-0 0, Dailey 2-4 0-0 5, Ellingson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 12-17 68.
Halftime—Michigan 48-36. 3-Point Goals—Michigan 11-25 (Livers 3-3, Abdur-Rahkman 3-8, Simpson 2-4, Poole 1-2, Robinson 1-3, Matthews 1-4, M.Wagner 0-1), Iowa 6-15 (Bohannon 4-7, Baer 1-1, Dailey 1-2, Ellingson 0-1, Moss 0-2, Nunge 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Michigan 30 (Teske, Abdur-Rahkman, Matthews 7), Iowa 30 (Cook 8). Assists—Michigan 18 (Simpson 7), Iowa 16 (Bohannon 3). Total Fouls—Michigan 15, Iowa 14.