Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball team leans on bench to get victory at Iowa
But Big Blue got a huge lift from its bench on Tuesday night — an encouraging sign now that Big Ten play has resumed.
Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each scored 15 points and Michigan beat host Iowa 75-68, extending its winning streak to six games.
Charles Matthews scored 14 points and Isaiah Livers had 13 for the Wolverines (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who won in Iowa City for the first time since 2011 thanks in part to the 37 points they got from the bench.
Starters Duncan Robinson and Moritz Wagner struggled, combining for just nine points. But Simpson added seven assists and Livers hit five of his six shots in 27 minutes.
“Our bench came in and just did a great job,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.
What was supposed to be a close game never really was — not after the blistering start that Michigan got off to.
The Wolverines made eight of their first 11 3s, and an early 19-4 run helped put it ahead by as much as 18 late in the first half.
Iowa (9-7, 0-3) briefly closed to within seven early in the second half. But it kept leaving Michigan open for easy 3s, including one from Abdur-Rahkman that made it 69-54 with 6:49 left.
“We couldn’t miss,” Beilein said. “We really shot the ball well. If we had missed some of those shots, I might have a different story to tell.”
The Wolverines finished 11 of 25 on 3s.
Tyler Cook had 28 for the Hawkeyes. They went 15 of 37 from the floor on shots not taken by Cook, but went on a late 9-0 run that made the score seem closer than the game actually was.
“It was kind of like, ‘Go ahead (Cook). Go score,'” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We’ve got to make sure we can play off of him a little bit more.”