LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Iowa played a zone on defense, and was in a zone on offense.

"We were really clicking," Hawkeye forward Jarrod Uthoff said after a dominating and much-needed 72-54 Big Ten basketball victory over Michigan Thursday at Crisler Center.

Skip in Skip
x

Embed

x
CLOSE

Hawkeyes score 42 points in the paint in Michigan win on Feb. 5, 2015.

When Iowa coach Fran McCaffery prepared his team for the Wolverines, he preached pounding the ball inside to take advantage of Iowa's superior size and length. And he drilled his team to sharpen its 2-3 zone.

The Hawkeyes executed the game plan to perfection. And a 5-4 Big Ten record, after a third road victory, was the reward. It's probably going to take at least 10 league wins to get in the NCAA Tournament. Thursday was a step in the right direction.

"I'm not going to sit here and say we're thrilled with 5-4," Iowa's Aaron White said after the 18-point final score matched Iowa's largest margin of victory ever over the Wolverines on their floor. "But I'm way happier than I would be with 4-5."

Michigan led by as many as six points 7 minutes into the game against Iowa's man-to-man defense. The Wolverines made six of their first eight field-goal attempts. Not long after, McCaffery rolled out the 2-3 zone. Michigan made two of its last 15 field-goal attempts of the half.

"That's as active as our 2-3 zone has been all year," point guard Mike Gesell said.

Skip in Skip
x

Embed

x
CLOSE

Iowa plays 2-3 zone to perfection in win at Michigan on Feb. 5, 2015.

Iowa also started to hammer the ball inside, with 7-foot-1 Adam Woodbury playing the role of Magic Johnson. He had a career-high six assists, often moving to the high post and finding teammates on the block.

Trailing 21-19, Iowa started to hammer it inside. The Hawkeyes scored the last 12 points of the half, including two dunks by White and another by Uthoff. Iowa had a 20-6 edge in points in the paint the first half, and 42-16 for the game.

"We felt we had to establish our ability to run our offense through the post," McCaffery said.

Skip in Skip
x

Embed

x
CLOSE

Iowa had 42 points in the paint and shot 62.7 percent from field against Michigan on Feb. 5, 2015.

Michigan was down two of its three leading scorers in CarisLeVert and Derrrick Walton Jr. But Michigan coach John Beilein's team had won two of four games without LeVert. The losses were both in overtime, against Wisconsin at home and at Michigan State.

But Iowa was as efficient as it has been all season. All five starters scored in double figures. Uthoff had 16 points, Gesell 14, White 13, Woodbury 11 and Peter Jok 10. Check out Woodbury's line — six assists to one turnover and seven rebounds. He had company. It was a box score loaded with superlatives.

Doing damage in the paint led to Iowa shooting a season-high 62.7 percent from the field. Every starter shot better than 50 percent. Iowa's previous high in a Big Ten game was 52 percent in a victory at Minnesota. Iowa led in Minneapolis by 17 points with 16:07 to play, fell behind by four and won it on Uthoff's late jumper.

So when an 18-point lead with 13:32 to go shrank to nine with 8:07 left Thursday, it looked like another nail-biter might be in store. Until Uthoff hit a 3-pointer from the right corner and Gesell added a jumper. Rally over.

"I hit 20 in a row from that spot in shootaround (Thursday)," Uthoff said. "I wasn't too worried about it."

Hawkeye columnist Rick Brown is a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.

IOWA (72)

MIN

FG

3P

FT

RB

A

TO

TP

Uthoff

36

7-10

2-3

0-0

9

0

0

16

White

34

6-8

0-2

1-2

5

0

0

13

Woodbury

27

5-9

0-0

1-2

7

6

1

11

Jok

28

4-7

2-4

0-0

3

4

0

10

Gesell

31

7-10

0-1

0-0

3

3

1

14

Olaseni

12

3-5

0-0

0-0

0

0

1

6

Oglesby

12

0-1

0-1

0-0

1

1

2

0

Clemmons

10

0-1

0-0

0-0

1

2

0

0

Uhl

10

0-0

0-0

2-2

1

0

1

2

Team

3

Totals

200

32-51

4-11

4-6

33

16

6

72

MICHIGAN (54)

MIN

FG

3P

FT

RB

A

TO

TP

Doyle

18

0-1

0-0

0-1

1

0

1

0

Albrecht

34

3-8

1-3

3-4

4

5

3

10

Abdur-Rahkman

37

4-10

1-5

2-2

3

1

0

11

Irvin

32

3-10

1-6

0-0

1

0

1

7

Dawkins

27

5-8

4-7

2-2

1

0

0

16

Chatman

20

3-6

0-1

0-0

2

1

0

6

Dakich

9

0-1

0-1

0-0

0

1

0

0

Lonergan

1

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

Donnal

2

0-0

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

0

Bielfeldt

20

1-3

0-1

2-2

4

0

1

4

Team

1

Totals

200

19-47

7-24

9-11

17

8

6

54

Halftime—Iowa 31-21. Team fouls—Iowa 10, Michigan 10. Technical fouls—White 2. Attendance—12,490.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE