Iowa men’s basketball team’s late comeback falls short in loss to Michigan

The Hawkeyes trailed by 12 points with 3:25 remaining but still had multiple opportunities to tie the game in their 84-79 loss.


Grace Smith

Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon looks to shoot a 3-pointer during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hoosiers, 83-74. Coming into the game, Bohannon was one 3-pointer away from 400 and four away from 1,000 attempts. Bohannon reached both of these goals by shooting 1-7 in 3-pointers.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Hundreds of Iowa men’s basketball fans started putting their coats on and heading for the Carver-Hawkeye Arena exits at the under-four minute timeout on Thursday night. But the game, it turns out, was anything but over.

Iowa trailed Michigan by 12 points with 3:25 remaining in the second half. Fast forward to the four-second mark and the Hawkeyes had a chance to tie the game and go to overtime. Jordan Bohannon, who is accustomed to hitting late-game shots over the course of his six-year Hawkeye career, took an inbounds pass after a made free throw pushed the Wolverine lead to three points. Bohannon heard the Michigan bench calling for defenders to foul and, as he felt contact, he heaved a shot up from half court with the hopes of drawing a shooting foul.

No foul was called. The shot was off the mark. Michigan guard DeVante’ Jones corralled the loose ball, drew a foul, and connected on two free throws in Michigan’s 84-79 win.

“It was pretty obvious,” Bohannon said postgame. “The whole Michigan bench is yelling, ‘Foul.’ Their coach is screaming, ‘Foul.’ Right when he went to swipe at me, it was pretty obvious he was trying to foul, so I threw up a shot. For some reason, the whistle has not been on our side this year. It’s pretty obvious that in a couple games this year it’s been pretty bad.

“Obviously, that’s not the reason why we lost. We got down 12. But when it’s pretty blatant like that, it’s something that should have been called. It’s pretty obvious.”

Michigan head coach Juwan Howard confirmed the Wolverines were trying to intentionally foul Bohannon in the final seconds, but the defender slipped and any contact that was made did not draw a whistle.

A full-court pass from Connor McCaffery to Keegan Murray, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, resulted in a buzzer-beating jumper to end the first half. Iowa led, 39-37, at the break. Even after Michigan, who out-shot Iowa 50 percent to 44.3 percent on the game, got out to a double-digit lead in the second half, Iowa managed to make it a game, largely mixing and matching the lineup for offense (more minutes for Bohannon and Payton Sandfort) and defense (more minutes for Joe Toussaint, Ahron Ulis, and Tony Perkins).

In a span of just over two minutes after the under-four timeout, the Hawkeyes went on a 9-0 scoring run that brought the remaining fans in attendance to their feet. Murray missed an open 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining that would have tied the game and Michigan responded by extending its lead at the free-throw line.

Ten missed layups, three missed dunks, and seven missed free throws in the game proved too much to overcome despite a late run for the Hawkeyes.

Really, really proud of the guys,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We missed dunks, a couple layups, free throws — yet we kept coming. So I think as a coach, you have to be proud of the effort, concentration, and execution against a really good team.”

Big picture

Iowa’s record drops to 17-8 overall and 7-7 in Big Ten play after Thursday’s loss. The Hawkeyes were on a three-game winning streak heading into the game. Michigan improves to 14-10 overall and 8-6 in the conference with its win.

The two teams are scheduled to play again on March 3 in Ann Arbor.

Keegan Murray plays through cramps

Murray stayed down on the court in pain on two separate occasions during the second half.

After the first, the reigning Naismith Player of the Week went to Iowa’s training room. After the second, he received medical attention on the bench. Murray said cramping was causing him discomfort in the second half. He returned to the floor after both instances.

“It’s something that I haven’t really experienced,” Murray said. “I really don’t cramp much at all. So that was new. It was obviously difficult knowing I was sitting on the sideline during [part of] the last stretch.”

Murray finished with 23 points (9-of-23 shooting), seven rebounds, and four blocks in front of about 20 NBA scouts. The sophomore forward is a projected first-round draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Murray has scored 20 or more points in a game a Big Ten-best 17 times this season.

Patrick McCaffery was also sidelined during part of Thursday’s contest. He did not start the second half. Fran McCaffery said after the game that Patrick was not feeling well, likely because he had not eaten anything all day. Patrick McCaffery did end up returning to the floor and scored 13 points (second-highest on the team) on the night.

Michigan bigs take over

Michigan center Hunter Dickinson (7-foot-1) and forward Moussa Diabate (6-11) combined for 35 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists, and three blocks against Iowa. Dickinson shot 5-of-11 from the field, while Diabate went 12-of-15.

“I thought we had a good game plan coming in,” Bohannon said. “They just had phenomenal nights. We’re losing games this year when there’s an inside presence and dominance in the paint. It’s hard to win games when they’re grabbing every offensive rebound and making good post moves. We need to find a way to help our bigs and eliminate that inside presence.

Up next

Iowa will practice at noon tomorrow before boarding a plane around 3 p.m. for its trip to Columbus. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to play No. 18 Ohio State (16-6, 9-4) at 1:37 p.m. on Saturday in a game that was supposed to be played earlier this month but was rescheduled because of weather conditions. The game will air on FOX.