Wolverines Surrender Halftime Lead in Loss to Iowa

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team suffered a 69-62 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes Wednesday night (Jan. 31) in Crisler Arena. After chasing U-M's lead during the entire first half, Iowa went on a 20-1 run in the second stanza and held tight defensively at crunch time to seal the win. The Wolverines (16-7, 4-4 Big Ten) dominated the first half, but the Hawkeyes' (12-10, 4-4 Big Ten) hot second-half shooting -- including five three-pointers and a 62.5 percentage from the field -- helped complete the comeback win.

Senior Courtney Sims (Boston, Mass./Noble & Greenough School) turned in one of the best performances of his Michigan career, finishing with 29 points on 9-for-12 shooting, including 11-for-13 from the free-throw stripe. He also tallied five rebounds and two blocks. Ron Coleman (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) added 12 points for U-M.

The game opened with both defenses playing with great intensity, but Michigan took a 3-0 advantage at 18:42 on a three-point play by Sims on a nice feed from Dion Harris (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Redford HS). The teams then exchanged baskets -- and turnovers -- to result in a 5-2 U-M lead at 16:06.

Sims continued his hot start, hitting on a post move and finishing a nice feed from Coleman to give U-M a 9-2 lead at 14:34. Iowa narrowed the advantage to 9-7 with a 5-0 run, but Lester Abram (Pontiac, Mich./Northern HS) made a running lay-up, Ekpe Udoh (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe HS) sank a bucket from the left post and Coleman hit a jumper from the free throw line to answer, extending the Wolverine lead to 15-7 at 11:36.

Michigan's defense continued to swarm the Hawkeyes during the middle of the half, and baskets from Coleman, Abram and Sims gave the Wolverines their biggest lead of the game, 23-10, at 6:54. A thunderous dunk by Coleman -- after a sweet touch pass by Harris -- raised the lead to 28-14, but Iowa answered with a run of its own to cut it to 30-19 at 3:32. Iowa continued its comeback, cutting the U-M lead to 32-23 at 1:12, but Sims closed the half as strong as he started it, finishing a Coleman miss as time expired to give Michigan a 34-23 advantage at halftime.

Michigan shot 45 percent (14-of-31) from the field in the opening stanza, compared to Iowa's 27 percent (8-of-30). Sims was a dominant force, scoring 19 points and snagging six rebounds. Coleman also chipped in seven points, three boards and two assists. Adam Haluska and Tony Freeman led the Hawkeyes in scoring with seven points apiece.

Iowa struck first in the second half, as Haluska drained a three-pointer at 19:47 to make it 34-26. Brent Petway (McDonough, Ga./Griffin HS) then sparked the half for the Wolverines with a free-throw and a dunk -- also drawing an Iowa player-control foul -- to grow the Michigan lead to 37-26 at 18:04. Iowa continued its fight, however, tightening its defense to slash the U-M lead again to 40-33 at 15:29.

While Iowa kept fighting hard, it was Michigan's free-throw shooting that held its advantage, shooting 8-of-10 from the charity stripe in the first nine minutes of the second stanza. But Iowa kept chipping away, and was able to cut the lead to six (49-43) on a Tyler Smith basket at 10:40.

Haluska's three-pointer at 9:59 further closed the gap, and Freeman's runner at 9:19 made it a 49-48 Wolverine lead, drawing a timeout from Michigan head coach Tommy Amaker. The Hawkeyes then took their first lead of the game, 51-49, on another Haluska triple at 8:56, and grew it to 53-49 on a Seth Gorney jumper at 8:00.

Iowa kept the run alive on scores by Gorney and Smith to extend its lead to 57-49, but a three-point play by Sims got U-M back on track, cutting the Hawkeye lead to 57-52 at 6:11.

After Jerret Smith (Romulus, Mich./Romulus HS) sank a pair of free throws, Sims followed an Abram miss with a bucket at 2:57 to make it a 61-58 Iowa lead. The teams exchanged baskets -- the latter being a dandy post move by Udoh -- to make it a 63-60 Iowa advantage at 1:42. Boosted by a reenergized defensive effort and the raucous Crisler Arena crowd, Abram then finished a crafty entry pass from Smith to cut the Iowa lead to one point, 63-62, at 1:04.

Iowa responded with a three-point play by Freeman to widen its lead to 66-62 with 48 seconds to go in the game. Michigan did not achieve quality shots on its ensuing possessions and, despite an outstanding effort from Sims, Iowa left Crisler Arena with a 69-62 victory.

The Wolverines will take this weekend off before visiting Ohio State on Tuesday, Feb. 6 in Columbus, Ohio. The 7 p.m. game in Value City Arena will be broadcast on ESPN.

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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