(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Robinson scores 18 as Wolverines beat Hawkeyes 74-59

Leave a comment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Lately, Duncan Robinson has found himself pondering his legacy.

Senior co-captains Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each scored 18 points to help No. 22 Michigan beat Iowa 74-59 on Wednesday night. It was a win that both young men looked at as another stepping stone toward greater achievements.

“Now when you’re a senior, you’re looking at your last games,” Robinson said. “You’re kind of looking at it like it’s now or never. You kind of see the time ticking down on your career.

“You’ve got to have a heightened sense of urgency about wanting to leave a mark. That’s not me as an individual, I mean more as a team. If we want to do something this year and leave a mark, it falls on us, the captains and the older guys, to shoulder that responsibility.”

With 33 points in the last two games, Robinson appears to be heating up at the right time of year for the Wolverines (21-7, 11-5 Big Ten).

“I think he’s just showing a little bit more passion,” Abdur-Rahkman said. “I was here when he was shooting 70 percent as a sophomore. I’m just glad he’s getting back to his old self. He’s one of the best shooters in the country, so anytime he’s shooting well, it definitely boosts your team.”

Michigan coach John Beilein knows that if the Wolverines intend to make any noise in the postseason, Robinson and Abdur-Rahkman must lead the way.

“It’s their time right now,” Beilein said. “I want them to shoot more. They’ve been leading, they’ve been great captains. But also, they’ve got to be the ones who are a little more aggressive, both offensively and defensively.”

Moritz Wagner added 14 points as the Wolverines won for the fourth time in five games. Charles Matthews scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds. Michigan outscored Iowa 36-6 from three-point range.

Luka Garza scored 22 points to pace the Hawkeyes (12-16, 3-12), losers of four straight. Isaiah Moss added 12 points and Tyler Cook scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.


The Hawkeyes came into the game second in the Big Ten in scoring offense, averaging 80.1 points per game, but Michigan became just the third team to hold Iowa under 60 points this season.

“We just locked in on defense,” Michigan guard Jaaron Simmons said. “We knew not to take them lightly, because they average like 80 points a game. We were ready.”


Iowa opened a quick 7-0 lead, but 12 first-half turnovers by the Hawkeyes turned the game in Michigan’s favor.

“I think what surprised me more was nine early,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “You can’t go in and play Michigan and turn it over nine times in the first nine minutes. They take those live ball turnovers and turn them into points.

“You can’t turn it over in the middle of the floor with a team with this kind of speed, a team that passes the ball this well.”


Iowa: The Hawkeyes have played three straight games against ranked opponents and lost all three by a combined margin of 252-216. … Iowa is 0-4 against ranked opponents this season. … Sophomore guard Jordan Bohannon has hit 30 successive free throws, four shy of the school record set by Chris Street in 1993. Bohannon’s last missed free throw was Jan. 4 against Ohio State.

Michigan: When the Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes 75-68 Jan. 2 at Iowa City, it ended Iowa’s season-high five-game winning streak and was the first win by the Wolverines at Carver-Hawkeye Arena since 2011. … Michigan is 52-24 all-time at home against Iowa. … Abdur-Rahkman leads the nation in assist to turnover ratio (90 assists, 15 turnovers).


Iowa: The Hawkeyes play host to Indiana on Saturday.

Michigan: The Wolverines play host to No. 14 Ohio State on Sunday.

No. 4 Michigan State survives Iowa 96-93

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Once the calendar hits February, avoiding a bad loss can often be as important as earning a big win.

The fourth-ranked Spartans somehow survived their trip to Iowa City on Tuesday night — and if they can beat No. 3 Purdue on Saturday, their hopes for a Big Ten title will remain intact.

Miles Bridges had 25 points and a crucial steal with five seconds left and fourth-ranked Michigan State rallied past lowly Iowa 96-93 for its seventh straight win.

Nick Ward added 17 points and Joshua Langford had 15 for the tired Spartans (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten), playing their fifth game in 12 days. But they got a serious scare from the Hawkeyes in what was supposed to be a tune-up for Saturday’s huge home game against the Boilermakers.

“I hope y’all enjoyed the offensive fireworks, because I don’t think either team played any defense,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said of a game in which both teams shot over 50 percent. “These are the dog days.”

And Michigan State had a star in Bridges to make the big plays down the stretch.

After trailing by as much as eight, Bridges hit a pair of free throws to give Michigan State a 92-91 lead with 1:02 left. He hit two more from the line to make it a 3-point game.

Tyler Cook pulled Iowa within 94-93 — and Bridges missed both of his free throws after his big steal with his team ahead by 3. But Nicholas Baer could only muster up a half-court shot for the Hawkeyes, and it bounced harmlessly off the rim.

Cook scored 26 points for Iowa (12-14, 3-10), which was coming off a 24-point loss at Penn State.

And yet the team that its fans thought it might see all year suddenly showed up against the Spartans.

Moss then gave the Hawkeyes their first lead, 61-60, with 14:16 left. Jordan Bohannon pushed it to 68-64 on a transition 3, but Kenny Goines drilled a 3 with 2:10 left to put Michigan State back ahead 90-89.

“I’ll give you the best excuse I can give you. The five games in 12 days is really taking a toll on us,” Izzo said. “We were beat.”

Bohannon had 17 on five 3s despite missing Monday’s practice with an illness for Iowa, which clinched its first losing season in the Big Ten since 2011-12.

“He’s one tough dude,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Bohannon.


Michigan State: What is it with the Hawkeyes that can give Michigan State such fits at times? Iowa beat the top-ranked Spartans by 13 in December of 2015 in Iowa City. Still, a road win in February can never be discounted — even if the Spartans continue to give their fans such stress. “We’re ways away from our ceiling,” Izzo said. “These guys are learning a lot. These guys are very, very young.”

Iowa: This was a major measure of progress for a program that has struggled mightily all year. “I’m really proud of their fight,” McCaffery said. A win would’ve been nice, but the Hawkeyes are building for 2018-19 anyway — and they got promising news on that front earlier Tuesday when commit Joe Wieskamp, a four-star recruit from nearby Muscatine, Iowa, broke the state record for points in his class.


Even with a win over Purdue, the Spartans could take a tumble next week. The Boilermakers led Iowa by 31 at halftime on the road in cruising to a blowout win.


This was the highest scoring Iowa-Michigan State game since 1988, when the Hawkeyes won 103-87 in East Lansing. …Michigan State finished 24 of 29 from the line. …Iowa shot 9 of 20 on 3s, but was just 12 of 19 from the line. In a game in which fouls were plentiful, that stat really bit the Hawkeyes. …Michigan State was 24 of 40 inside the arc. …Iowa had four guys with four or more assists.


Michigan State hosts the third-ranked Boilermakers. Purdue plays No. 14 Ohio State, which sits a game back in the Big Ten, on Wednesday.

Iowa plays at Ohio State on Saturday.


More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

Tuesday’s Three Things to Know: Xavier wins a classic, Tennessee and Michigan State win on the road

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Leave a comment


Despite the fact that the two programs shared a season in the Atlantic 10, with the move to the Big East the series between Xavier and Butler has really taken off. Tuesday night the two teams combined to produce on of the best games of the season to date, with the Musketeers winning 98-93 in overtime. Trevon Bluiett, who hit some huge shots in the second half and overtime, led the Musketeers with 26 points and Kerem Kanter added 22 for the Musketeers.

Xavier, which at one point in the first half led 29-11, survived despite Butler receiving a big second-half performance from Kelan Martin. Martin scored 25 of his 34 points in the second half and overtime, and the Bulldogs were able to force overtime thanks to huge three-pointers hit by Sean McDermott and Kamar Baldwin. But LaVall Jordan’s team missed out on what would have been a big win for their NCAA tournament profile, as Bluiett and the Musketeers regained their poise in overtime and closed out the game.


Picked to finish 13th in the SEC’s preseason poll, No. 15 Tennessee has exceeded those expectations in a big way. Tuesday night Rick Barnes’ team made big plays on both ends of the court late as they knocked off No. 24 Kentucky 61-59 in Lexington. Lamonte Turner, who hit a big three with 26 seconds remaining that gave the Vols a one-point lead, led four double-digit scorers with 16 points.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Quade Green scored 15 apiece to lead Kentucky, with the former also responsible for six of the team’s seven assists. Ball and player movement remains an issue for John Calipari’s young Wildcats, and those issues combined with Tennessee’s late-game execution proved to be too much to overcome. As a result of Tennessee’s win, the SEC’s two best teams are squads people did not expect much from back in October.


For 38-plus minutes Iowa looked nothing like the group that was just 3-9 in Big Ten play, going blow for blow with a Michigan State team that rates among the nation’s best. Tom Izzo’s team looked lost defensively for significant stretches, but in “winning time” the differences between the teams was quite clear. Michigan State was able to string together a few stops late while continuing to execute offensively, going on to win 96-93 as Jordan Bohannon’s heave as time expired bounced off the rim.

The Spartans putting up 96 points, with Miles Bridges and Nick Ward leading the way with 25 and 17 respectively, and shooting 56.1 percent from the field comes as no surprise. But the defensive breakdowns, for which Iowa certainly deserves some credit for, were startling for a team that’s one of the best when it comes to defensive efficiency. And with No. 2 Purdue next on the schedule, Michigan State will need to tighten things up in the coming days.

Fran McCaffery’s controversial Iowa contract extension gets an explanation

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery was in the news last week after signing a contract extension to stay in Iowa City.

While McCaffery has helped rebuild the program with three NCAA tournament appearances in eight years, the Hawkeyes have struggled this season when they were expected to at least be competitive in a down year for the Big Ten. The extension — which was signed, in secret, on Nov. 29 — grants McCaffery a pay increase, additional years and a buyout number that makes a lot of Iowa fans uncomfortable.

McCaffery originally had a buyout of $4.6 million if he were to be fired this spring. With the new extension, McCaffery’s buyout jumped to to $10.2 million and $9 million after next season. The buyout numbers stay relatively high for the next few seasons thereafter.

Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta cleared up some of the misconceptions about McCaffery’s contract extension this week in an interview with Chad Leistikow the Des Moines Register. Since Barta believes that McCaffery aligns with the school’s goals and future plans, he wanted to make sure he secured his head coach with additional job security. Barta also said that McCaffery received interest from multiple Power 5 programs for his services and that also helped Iowa make the decision on the extension.

“When I hired him, he re-energized a broken program. He’s a tireless recruiter. He’s done a great job in recruiting,” Barta said.

“When I find somebody who matches our culture and is a proven winner and proven that they care about our student-athletes graduating, et cetera, I want to lock them in for a long time, because I want them to stay.”

The secretive nature of the extension — which was revealed publicly thanks to a FOIA request — also irked a lot of Iowa fans. Barta explained that he had a handshake deal in place with McCaffery this summer, but he wanted to wait to publicly announce the extension until after the season to avoid any in-season conflicts. Since Barta was dealing with some personal medical issues late last year, the contract extension couldn’t properly be announced before the season.

“Many times, when we announce coaches’ contracts, it’s for recruiting. In this case, we didn’t need an advantage in recruiting. Recruiting’s been going fine. So I made the decision to wait until the end of the season, knowing full well … it could get out during the season,” Barta said. “I hoped that it would be after the season — not because I’m worried about how we’re playing. But I just did not want to have this conversation in the middle of the season. But it is what it is. And there was no conspiracy.

“I could’ve announced it. I chose not to. There’s really nothing in it to hide. It’s fair for people to criticize.”

Iowa might have given McCaffery a ton of buyout money for the next few seasons, but the Hawkeyes also have a young team with more recruiting reinforcements on the way. In the Class of 2018, Iowa has a top-50 prospect in Joe Wieskamp committed while McCaffery’s two sons, Connor and Patrick, should also both join the program in the next few years. Both McCaffery sons are also four-star basketball prospects — although Connor only played sparingly during his freshman season this year while dealing with an ankle injury and lingering issues thanks to mononucleosis.

The buyout numbers are gaudy, and Iowa hasn’t given fans a lot of confidence with its play this season, but McCaffery at least deserves some of the benefit of the doubt until he plays through next season with nearly the same roster. If that group also underperforms next season, then the Hawkeyes might have a huge issue on their hands.

(H/t: Chad Leistikow, Des Moines Register

No. 3 Purdue, behind Carsen Edwards, rips Iowa 87-64

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Carsen Edwards scored 22 points and Vincent Edwards had 19 Saturday, leading No. 3 Purdue to its 15th straight victory with an 87-64 rout of Iowa.

P.J. Thompson added 14 points for the Boilermakers (19-2, 8-0 Big Ten). Purdue ended a four-game road losing streak against the Hawkeyes (10-11, 1-7) by making 20 of 33 3-pointers.

Purdue reeled off 18 straight points to lead 24-6. The Boilermakers extended their lead to 24 late in the first half after hitting 10 of 11 3s in one stretch and were up 51-20 at halftime.

Purdue shot 69 percent in the first half while holding the Hawkeyes to 25 percent.

Luka Gazra had 19 points for Iowa, which has dropped five of its last six games. The Hawkeyes went on a late 13-3 run to prevent the final margin from becoming even more lopsided.


Purdue: The Boilermakers have Ohio State at their heels in what has become a two-team race for the Big Ten title. But after this performance against the Hawkeyes, it’s hard to call anyone but the Boilermakers the favorite.

Iowa: This was the first game the Hawkeyes played all year against a ranked opponent, and the Boilermakers exposed them. Iowa remains one of the nation’s most disappointing teams — but this was perhaps the worst the program has looked since the three-year stint of Todd Lickliter last decade.

POLL IMPLICATIONS: Purdue will likely by ranked third — its highest spot in the poll since being ranked No. 2 on March 7, 1988 — for the second straight week row unless top-ranked Villanova or No. 2 Virginia lose this weekend.


Purdue hosts Michigan on Thursday.

Iowa hosts Wisconsin on Tuesday.

Iowa forward Maishe Dailey opens up about alleged police brutality incident

Leave a comment

Iowa sophomore Maishe Dailey spoke to reporters after a June incident in which he claims that police in Ohio slammed him and seven friends to the ground while the group was attempting to watch an NBA Finals game in downtown Cleveland.

One day after the incident, which allegedly occurred on June 4th during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Dailey released a statement on Twitter detailing his side of what happened.

Some time passed after the incident, and Dailey spoke with reporters, including Quad City Times reporter Don Doxsie, to give his side of things. The 6-foot-7 Dailey is currently preparing for his sophomore season with the Hawkeyes as he is playing in the local Prime Time League.

“I don’t want to talk too much about it, but it was like a scary situation,’’ Dailey said. “When I posted on Twitter, I just wanted to share with the world that it’s real and it happens. It was scary for me.’’

Dailey told reporters that he received a phone call from Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery pretty quickly after sending his tweet about the incident with police.

From Doxsie’s story:

Within 20 minutes after tweeting the news, Dailey got a phone call from Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery, who spoke to him for 10 minutes and warned him to be prepared to answer questions about the incident and his tweet.

But McCaffery also expressed his support for Dailey’s decision to go public, which made the 6-foot-7 guard feel pretty good.

“It really did because it’s just hard to imagine why someone like Colin Kaepernick … he’s taking the punishment for speaking out and doing what he thinks is right,’’ Dailey said. “So it’s good to have my coach behind my back no matter what decision I choose.’’

Dailey and his friends have filed a formal complaint since the incident and they are going to let things play out from here.

As a freshman reserve at Iowa last season, Dailey appeared in 12 games and played 92 overall minutes as he averaged 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest.