The third-ranked Michigan Wolverines moved to 17-1 (12-1 in Big Ten play) on Thursday night in Ann Arbor in a 79-57 win over the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes. The victory gives Michigan its second win over a top-ten team in as many games.
Iowa came into the night as KenPom’s No. 4-rated team and possessed the nation’s most efficient offense. The Wolverines responded to that by holding them to their worst offensive output of the season and held the Hawkeyes to 36 percent shooting on the evening.
Franz Wagner led the way for Michigan in one of his best games of the season, finishing the evening with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Isaiah Livers chipped in with 16 points, while freshman center Hunter Dickinson had 14 points and eight rebounds.
The storyline of the game coming in was the showdown with Dickinson and Iowa center Luka Garza, who might just be the Big Ten’s Player of the Year when it is all said and done. The two are good friends and this was easily the biggest game they have ever played against each other. Dickinson had some foul trouble throughout the night but was the better of the two players when on the floor on both ends. As a team, Garza was held to 16 points on 6-of-19 shooting.
This was hardly the game that was expected between these two through the first 20 minutes. Both teams were bogged down by sluggish offensive performances, along with the officials deciding that four replay reviews within the first 17 minutes of basketball were necessary. The Wolverines scored the first five points of the game, but Iowa was able to fire right back with a 7-0 run of its own without Dickinson on the floor. Six first-half turnovers for Michigan might have been the biggest reason the game was tight as it was despite neutralizing Garza (7 points, 3-for-11 shooting in 18 first-half minutes). The Wolverines and Hawkeyes shot 40 and 41 percent from the floor, respectively. Michigan would go into the locker room with a 32-29 lead.
Dickinson picked up his third foul early in the second half, which was a massive test for the Wolverines. They not only weathered the storm but went on a 12-3 run to take an 11-point lead over the Hawkeyes. From there, the Wolverines never looked back and led by as many as 22 points in the second half. That was the margin by which the game ended.
The strong defensive effort remained into the second half and Wagner was able to take over and be a major part of extending the lead. Everyone had a moment to shine in the second half with timely plays from the likes of Livers, Chaundee Brown and Austin Davis.
Next up for Michigan is a trip to Indiana on Saturday afternoon before a showdown with Illinois at home on Tuesday. They close the year with a home-and-home series with Michigan State on Thursday and Sunday.