The Michigan men’s basketball team actually defeated Iowa in the second half by six. Wolverines still lost with a score of 11.
Hawkeyes immediately hit Michigan in the mouth. In the timeout under 16, they were already leading at 7, and from there the leadership only grew.
In the second half, Iowa’s lead was 17 points, 47-30. The wolverines reached back into the locker room, lowering their heads, trying to figure out what had just happened.
“I think we had a problem with closing the shooters, finding the shooters in the transition,” said senior forward Brendan Jones Jr. “And also just make fun of when someone brings us to the edge.”
In Michigan, there was no response to a strong hawk eye attack the entire first half. He lost his job when Iowa came out and ran in transition, he went on the ball screens while guarding the top ten scorer of the Big Ten – Hawk’s Eye forward Keegan Murray – and he just couldn’t make a single stop when he needed to.
Five-year-old guard Eli Brooks scored 13 points in the first half, scoring three-pointers that fed the crowd, but it didn’t matter. Every time Iowa put the ball back in their hands, she found a way to score, and usually didn’t have to look so strong.
In the first half, “Khavkiz” threw 60% off the floor, 70% of the three and scored an absurd 1,516 points for possession. The wolverines just didn’t give themselves a chance.
When acting head coach Phil Martelli took the podium after the game, he paused for a second before performing. He tried to reflect on what went wrong for the defense, why his team dug into such a big pit early.
“We never hit the ball and we always played on the side,” he began. “We wanted to use the zone, and when you’re shining early, sometimes you say,‘ I can’t afford to give up the top three, and now something’s going to happen, ’but we stuck to it. That was part of the plan. It was not a desperate move. “
Martelli, who is trying to sell a room full of 20 reporters, about his team’s defense plan, why his move to double-digit zone defense wasn’t just a reaction on his knees, has to tell you everything you need to know about what happened. Of course, he would not have to justify the plan if it worked.
But Martelli wasn’t wrong either. Zone defense could slow Iowa if Michigan closed to shooters or if Hawk’s Eyes didn’t shoot at 70% depth. But the Wolverines certainly didn’t close, and Iowa did put out the fires from the depths.
Eventually, Michigan’s defense began to play better; this allowed him to score 12 points less in the second half, and most of the shots made by Hawk’s Eyes were fifth-year shots by guards Jordan Bohanan and Murray. The Wolverines even flirted with the comeback in the second half when they finally started tying a few stops deep in the second half.
“Obviously we put ourselves in this situation, and this hole is hard to dig when you dig it so deep,” Jones said. “So our mentality was focused only on the next game, the next four minutes. We are trying to get out of this hole. “
But the hole in which the Wolverines found themselves was insurmountable.