Wolverines top Hawkeyes in Big 10 matchup
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Nik Stauskas started the quick flurry with a 3-pointer from the left corner, and that was followed by another familiar sight — a driving dunk by Glenn Robinson III.
Then Spike Albrecht stepped in front of an inbound pass for a steal and a quick basket — the latest unexpected contribution from the sophomore who has become such a crowd favorite in Ann Arbor.
“I’ve seen that in film. They get some long outlet passes for some transitions,” Albrecht said. “I just kind of sat there and jumped in.”
Stauskas scored 26 points, and No. 21 Michigan held off No. 10 Iowa 75-67 on Wednesday night to remain unbeaten in the Big Ten. Robinson added 14 points for the Wolverines, and Albrecht shined in his first career start, finishing with seven points, seven assists, four steals and no turnovers.
The Wolverines (14-4, 6-0) have won eight straight to set up a showdown in East Lansing on Saturday night with rival Michigan State, the Big Ten’s only other unbeaten team in conference play.
Aaron White scored 14 of Iowa’s points in a row down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to rally the Hawkeyes (15-4, 4-2) from an 11-point deficit.
“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.”
White and Melsahn Basabe scored 17 points each for Iowa. Jordan Morgan had 12 for Michigan.
Third-ranked Michigan State (18-1, 7-0) will bring an 11-game winning streak into Saturday’s game. It will be the first time Michigan and Michigan State have ever met with both teams at 6-0 or better in Big Ten play, according to STATS.
The Spartans will be the third straight top-10 opponent for Michigan, which beat then-No. 3 Wisconsin on Saturday. The win over Iowa gave the Wolverines back-to-back victories over top-10 teams — without any games in between — for the first time since the Fab Five beat No. 5 North Carolina and No. 2 Kansas in succession in December of 1992, according to STATS.
Michigan split two games with Michigan State last season, losing 75-52 in East Lansing.
“Last year I think we kind of went out there just thinking it was just another game,” Albrecht said. “It’s a big-time rivalry, so you have to be ready to go.”
The Wolverines are without star big man Mitch McGary, who is out indefinitely with a back injury, but they matched the tall Hawkeyes at 10 offensive rebounds. Iowa committed 14 turnovers and couldn’t shoot well enough to make up for it. The Hawkeyes equaled their lowest-scoring game of the season.
“You can’t turn it over 14 times here,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “I mean, unless you’re drilling 3s.”
Iowa went only 2 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Stauskas made his first four shots, and Michigan led 38-34 at halftime. It was 54-43 after the sequence that ended with Albrecht’s steal and quick shot from the baseline.
Albrecht briefly became a household name because of his big first half in last season’s national title game against Louisville. He started Wednesday in place of freshman Derrick Walton, who had been bothered by the flu and was limited to three minutes.
Albrecht played 35 minutes, easily surpassing his previous high of 28 from that loss to Louisville.
“We got the call yesterday morning that Derrick had a temperature and flu-like symptoms,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Spike was fine — really pleased with the way he played.”
Michigan freshman Zak Irvin made a 3-pointer and a layup to put the Wolverines ahead 62-51. Then White scored seven straight points. Devyn Marble missed a 3-pointer that would have cut the deficit to one, but it was 67-64 after a dunk by White.
With a Michigan possession seemingly going nowhere, Albrecht found Robinson behind the defense for an alley-oop layup to push the lead to five and help the Wolverines hold on.
“When their zone has us confused, over the top to Glenn was the biggest play,” Beilein said. “One of the bigger plays this year.”