Iowa men’s basketball picks up third straight win, outlasts Michigan in overtime

The Hawkeyes erased a seven-point deficit in the last two minutes of regulation and outscored the Wolverines by nine in the extra period.


Darren Chen

Iowa guard Payton Sandfort attacks the rim during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Southeast Missouri State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Redhawks, 106-75. (Darren Chen/The Daily Iowan)

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

The Iowa men’s basketball team found itself trailing, 77-70, with under two minutes remaining in Thursday night’s showdown with the Michigan Wolverines at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

At that time, Hawkeye sophomore guard Payton Sandfort had 12 points. He finished the night with 26. 

The Waukee, Iowa, native scored 14 points in the last seven minutes of Iowa’s 93-84 overtime win.

Sandfort began his barrage with a 3-pointer to draw the Hawkeyes within 77-75, and then — after a Michigan made jumper — he nailed another three, was fouled, and made the ensuing free-throw to tie the game at 79 with 20.7 seconds remaining. 

“When they hit the shot to go up four, we just kind of were in motion,” Sandfort said. “I came off the pin-down [screen], kind of felt [the defender] on my hip. I knew we had to get one up quick and I just got taken out [after the shot].”

Sandfort described the shot as a “heat-check at the perfect time.”

After both teams failed to score in the final 20 seconds of regulation, Sandfort made another highlight-reel play in overtime.

Up, 82-79, following a Sandfort jumper and a made free-throw from junior forward Kris Murray — who led the Hawkeyes with 27 points on the night — Sandfort counted another and-1. 

Murray had his shot blocked from the right corner but as the ball fell short of the rim, Sandfort jumped, caught the ball, and put it in. His free-throw conversion put Iowa up, 85-79.

“This one, I saw it kind of was fluttering through the air,” Sandfort said of Murray’s corner jumper. “So I just went up, tried to make a play on it. I just tried to get something on the rim, so somebody else might be able to make a play, and it just worked out.”

Sandfort scored his 25th and 26th points of the night on the last two shots that fell on Thursday — two free-throws giving Iowa the nine-point win. 

Sandfort shot 9-of-17 from the floor, 4-of-9 from 3-point range, and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists. 

He was one of three Hawkeyes to make significant contributions off the bench. 

Dix, Mulvey step up

Along with Sandfort, freshman guard Josh Dix and sophomore center Riley Mulvey each gave Iowa a lift.

Dix stepped in at point guard for a struggling Tony Perkins. 

Dix, a Council Bluffs, Iowa, native played over 31 minutes on Thursday, 13 minutes more than his previous career high of 18. 

Dix, however, answered questions about increased playing time like a seasoned vet.

“Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do,” he said. 

Dix finished with career-highs in points with 10, assists with five, and committed only one turnover after not playing point guard all season.

“I mean, every time I’ve seen him play, that’s how he plays,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said of Dix. “Nothing rattles him, he’s constantly thinking, he doesn’t let a play linger, plays both ends. You know, he’s always been a point guard. We’ve been utilizing him on the wing primarily because he’s a good shooter, and that’s fine, we’ll still play him there some as well. He was just so special. Running the offense, playing defense, just staying composed.”

RELATED: Iowa men’s basketball’s Josh Dix recovered from leg injury, full participant in practice

Mulvey played nearly 13 minutes in relief of starting center Filip Rebraca, who battled foul trouble. Backup center Josh Ogundele missed the game with an injury. 

Mulvey’s previous season high was eight minutes, mostly in garbage time.

The Rotterdam, New York, product contributed four points, two rebounds, and a steal. But his most important role Thursday came in helping handle Michigan big man Hunter Dickinson. 

Dickinson was held to 12 points — more than six below his previous season average —  on just six field goal attempts. Dickinson had gotten up more than six shots in all but one of his games this season. 

“I thought for the most part, he was where he was supposed to be,” McCaffery said of Mulvey. “So I’m really proud of him.”

Big picture

The victory moves Iowa to 11-6 overall and 3-3 in Big Ten play. 

The win continues what is now a three-game winning streak. The Hawkeyes have had to mount second-half comebacks in two of those three contests. 

“Guys don’t want to get down in those situations,” Murray said. “But it just shows the fight that we have … Just shows the toughness that we have. We’re never going to go out without a fight.”

Up next

Iowa hosts Maryland on Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m. Maryland is 11-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play. Iowa won both games against the Terrapins a year ago.