No. 24 Michigan continues Big Ten run vs. No. 10 Iowa; more Wednesday hoops
No. 21 Michigan 75, No. 10 Iowa 67: Michigan’s season thus far could more appropriately be split into two separate campaigns. There was the forgettable non-conference slate in which the Wolverines dropped four games, including a stunning loss to Charlotte. Then there is Michigan’s current Big Ten schedule, where the program finds itself on one heck of a roll.
The Wolverines’ 75-67 victory over No. 10 Iowa on Wednesday was the latest big step in an unblemished start to conference play. Michigan is now 6-0 in the Big Ten and sits atop the league after two consecutive wins over top-10 opponents, and that’s exactly where this team needs to be as it prepares for its biggest test of the season this weekend at Michigan State.
The Wolverines got it done on both ends of the floor against the Hawkeyes, who entered the night as a top-10 team for the first time since 2001. Michigan hit eight 3-pointers, including four from leading scorer Nik Stauskas. Stauskas put in a big night in the box score with 26 points — 15 by halftime– five rebounds and five assists only a few days after hanging 23 points in an upset of No. 3 Wisconsin.
Iowa still kept things close for most of the night. Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White each chipped in 17 points as the Hawkeyes shot 47 percent from the field, but Michigan’s defense managed to hold a normally potent offense (86.8 points per game) to 67 points on the road.
Questions that surrounded the Michigan roster’s abilities (or lack therof) during its non-conference schedule have seemingly disappeared in its rise to the top of the Big Ten. Now the Wolverines have won two straight against top-10 opponents. If Stauskas and the offense can keep this trend going with a little help on defense, they could make it three in a row.
No. 18 Duke 67, Miami 46: The last time the Blue Devils traveled to Coral Gables, the Hurricanes handed the then-No. 1 team in the country a shocking 27-point loss. But that was last January, Jabari Parker wasn’t on that Duke roster , and he made his presence known in a rematch on Wednesday night.
Parker scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help the Blue Devils avenge last season’s painful result and notch their first road conference win of the season. Duke shot a mere 42 percent from the field but held Miami to 35 percent on the night, including 20 percent (2-10) on 3-pointers. The Blue Devils dominated the glass, as well, enjoying a 42-28 rebounding advantage.
After losing two of three games to start the new year, Duke has now reeled off three straight wins in ACC play. Next Coach K’s crew returns home to take on Florida State on Saturday before a tough ACC two-step against No. 20 Pitt and No. 2 Syracuse. Those two contests will be telling for what this Duke team is made of.
No. 5 Wichita State 70, Illinois State 55: Wichita State looked like it might suffer its first loss of the season at halftime against Illinois State. The Redbirds had streaked out to a 28-25 lead at intermission, putting Wichita’s bid for its 20th victory in jeopardy. But the Shockers opened the second half on a 22-6 run to put the contest out of reach and outscore Illinois State 45-27 after halftime.
The Shockers remained one of three unbeaten teams in the country as Cleanthony Early notched a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Illinois State had trouble keeping up on offense, where it shot a staggering 1-for-25 on 3-pointers and finished shooting 32 percent for the night.
No. 19 St. Louis 76, Duquesne 72: Mike McCall Jr. hit two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to help No. 19 St. Louis stave off an upset at the hands of Duquesne. The Dukes held a 72-70 lead with just under a minute left, but a trey by Austin McBroom pushed the Billikens ahead for good on the next possession. The normally defensive-minded St. Louis squad allowed the most points of the season against Duquesne but managed to escape anyway thanks to five players scoring in double-figures and 10 3-pointers.