Iowa overcomes injuries with tenacious effort

Iowa (14-13, 4-10) shook off a 14-0 first-half run, rallied from a four-point deficit in the final minute and clamped on the Wolverines’ offense on the final possession of regulation.

 

 

In overtime, it was nothing short of relentless. Iowa scored on its first four possessions, including seven points from sophomore Jake Kelly. Iowa forced Michigan post DeShawn Sims to miss four overtime shots while the Hawkeyes sank all four attempts. All of this done with four players who played the full 45 minutes and only seven overall.

 

Kelly, a sophomore, produced an award-winning effort punctuated with statistics. Kelly slid from off-guard to the point and had career highs in points, assists and rebounds. He scored 23 points on 8 of 17 shooting, pulled down eight rebounds and dished nine assists. He played every minute.

 

“I didn’t know I had those stats, but I just tried to go make plays. We needed it,” Kelly said. “My teammates had a lot of confidence in me and tried to get me the ball and set up some good screens. … I got some mismatches on some big guys. I felt like I could raise up and shoot or take it to the basket.”

 

Kelly hadn’t played point guard since his freshman year in high school, one year after playing center on his eighth-grade basketball team. Sunday, he seemed to get more efficient with each possession at the point. He had only two turnovers, and none in the second half or overtime.

 

“I like it,” Kelly said about point guard. “I think I like to control the tempo. Sometimes I push it up, other times I slow it down when I’m tired. But I just kind of like that.

 

“I made some mistakes early, but I adapted and definitely there are some things I need to work on in that position, but I think I’m getting better.”

 

Kelly also had to guard Michigan’s Manny Harris, arguably the Big Ten’s most dynamic offensive player and second-leading scorer. Kelly stifled Harris throughout the game, holding him to nine points and producing the game’s most important defensive stop.

 

With the score tied 56-56, Michigan held the ball for the final shot. Iowa tightened its defense around the perimeter, and Harris had the ball with only a few seconds left. Kelly played Harris face up, and Harris launched a 25-foot 3-pointer that missed its mark, sending the game into overtime.

 

“He likes to drive right, and you know I was stepping on his right side and not letting him go,” Kelly said. “So he pulled up a deep shot and faded away, and I like my odds with that one.”

 

Michigan Coach John Beilein benched Harris for the overtime period, and Kelly buried the Wolverines. Kelly hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and scored on a drive on three of Iowa’s first four overtime possessions. He closed out Iowa’s scoring with a pair of free throws. He scored nine of Iowa’s 14 overtime points.

 

Kelly’s effort might have been special, but it wasn’t unique. Freshmen Matt Gatens (16 points) and Aaron Fuller (seven) joined junior Devan Bawinkel (12 points) in playing all 45 minutes. Sophomore Jarryd Cole (10 points) played 38 minutes. Senior post Cyrus Tate played for only the second time in 11 games, registering four minutes and two points. Junior David Palmer also spelled Cole for three minutes.

 

“Most of us knew we were going to play close to 40 minutes,” Gatens said. “We didn’t think 45, though. Those extra five minutes, it’s fun and it’s good for the fans and it’s good to come out on top.

 

“It’s a big win for us.”

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