IOWA CITY – On their way out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena last night, some members of the Michigan basketball team gathered around a small, black-and-white TV, watching highlights of the game they had just won.
The group stood tall, marveling at what they had just accomplished.
Bursts of “ooooh” and “aaah” resonated through the hallway as the game’s deciding moments played were on screen.
Asked whether the team had done this before, redshirt sophomore Zack Gibson wasn’t blunt: “No.”
It wasn’t hard a question to answer. Road success for Michigan has been almost nonexistent this season.
“This is up there (in terms of road wins in my career),” senior Ron Coleman said.
Last night’s win in Iowa City was the program’s first high-profile Big Ten road win since Jan. 5, 2005.
Coleman is the only player from that game still on the roster. In that game, the unranked Wolverines topped then-No. 15 Iowa, 65-63.
Comeback kid: It was the worst half of Manny Harris’s young career.
In the opening frame, the freshman committed three turnovers, two fouls and didn’t register a point or a rebound.
He came back with one of the most spirited halves of his career.
“I kind of talked to Manny at the half,” Coleman said. “And told him, ‘This is a new half. This is your half. Go out there and do what you do.’ And he did what he does.”
Out of the break, Harris intercepted an Iowa pass and drove for a layup. On the next Michigan possession, he hit a 3-pointer to awaken what had been a lethargic Michigan offense.
His final field goal of the game might have been the most emphatic. In a tie game with just over nine minutes remaining, Harris stole another Hawkeye pass and slammed it down to give Michigan it’s first lead since 1-0.
But what Harris did down the stretch made the second half unforgettable. Iowa resorted to fouling the Wolverines to stop the clock late in the game. Harris, the team’s best free-throw shooter, nailed all six of his free throws in the final 1:05 to ice the game.
A half to forget: Three times this season, Michigan has scored fewer than 20 points in a half.
Last night’s first half was the worst of all of them. The Wolverines scored just 16 points.
It took nearly 16 minutes for the Wolverines to get into double digits.
Iowa’s lackluster offense finished with just 27 first-half points, keeping the Wolverines in striking distance.
“I never think we have a game won, and I never think we’re beat,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “I just say, “we’re hanging in there’ because you just see those swings go back and forth.”