ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The hallmark of the Iowa basketball team all season has been that the Hawkeyes get a lot of contributions from a lot of players.
On Wednesday night, in a showdown with No. 21 Michigan, the 10th-ranked Hawkeyes didn’t get nearly enough from different sources.
Melsahn Basabe had a great first half and Aaron White had a tremendous second half, but the Hawkeyes didn’t get consistent production from anyone else in going down to a 75-67 loss to the Wolverines at Crisler Arena.
The loss keeps Iowa (15-4 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) from staying in the thick of the Big Ten race and sets up an instate showdown for first place on Saturday. Michigan (14-4, 6-0 Big Ten), which has now won eight straight games, will travel to play No. 3-ranked Michigan State, which also is unbeaten in league play.
Michigan star Nik Stauskas scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Wolverines on Wednesday, but Iowa coach Fran McCaffery figured it was turnovers along with a few defensive lapses that cost the Hawkeyes most.
“When you go on the road, you have to play better at the start," McCaffery said on his postgame radio show. “We had four insane turnovers early. We had 14 in the game and to win on the road, I think you have to be 10 or lower."
McCaffery also said Iowa’s defensive effort was only “OK.
“It wasn’t what it has been, it wasn’t what it could have been and it wasn’t what we wanted it to be,’’ he said.
White and Basabe scored 17 points apiece, but leading scorer Devyn Marble managed just 13 and the Hawkeyes got a season-low eight points from their bench. Iowa reserves had been averaging more than 36 points per game and the previous season low for bench points was 18, in road losses to Wisconsin and Iowa State.
For the second straight game, White and Marble did very little in the first half. They combined for just five points — they had just one in the first half Sunday against Minnesota — and White did not even attempt a shot before halftime.
“I'm really disappointed in myself, because this is the second game in a row that I haven't shown up until late in the game," White said. "I'm supposed to be one of the top players in this league, but I'm not making an impact until it is too late. I can't allow myself to keep doing that."
The Hawkeyes hung close, however, as Basabe scored 15 points in the first 20 minutes, which ended with Michigan leading 38-34.
Basabe, who has averaged less than eight points per game, would get only two more points the rest of the way. McCaffery said he thought he played his senior too many minutes.
“It was on me in the second half. I ran out of energy," Basabe said. “I was supposed to continue my dominance and I wasn’t able to do it."
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The Wolverines extended their lead with the help of turnovers early in the second half, twice opening the margin to as much as 11 (54-43 and 62-51).
White brought the Hawkeyes back, though, scoring 14 straight points in one stretch. Marble snared a long rebound and got it to White for a dunk that cut the Michigan lead to 67-64 with 2 minutes, 32 seconds remaining.
However, the Hawkeyes left Glenn Robinson III wide open to score on a lob from Spike Albrecht at the other end.
"When their zone has us confused, over the top to Glenn was the biggest play," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "One of the bigger plays this year."
White made it 69-65 on a free throw with 1:05 to go, but two free throws by Stauskas with 55.1 seconds left and two more by Albrecht with 44.7 seconds to go put the Wolverines up by eight.
Marble countered with two foul shots but two more by Robinson with 35.1 seconds remaining finished the Hawkeyes.
Stauskas’ 26-point effort was supplemented by 14 points and nine rebounds by Robinson, 12 points by Jordan Morgan and 11 by freshman Zak Irvin, including a couple of timely 3-pointers in the second half. Albrecht, getting his first career start in place of the ailing Derrick Walton, contributed seven points, seven assists and four steals.
The 67 points for Iowa matched a season low, achieved earlier in a victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten opener.