Wednesday began with everyone asking, "Where is Nik Stauskas?" The 25-player Wooden Award midseason watch list was released and the Big Ten's leading scorer was nowhere to be found. Wednesday night ended with everyone saying, "Oh, there's Nik Stauskas." The U-M sophomore guard racked up a game-high 26 points to lead the 21st-ranked Wolverines to a 75-67 win over No. 10 Iowa on Wednesday night at Crisler Center. The 26 points came on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-9 3-pointers, to match his career-high output. Thanks to Stauskas, some timely baskets by freshman Zak Irvin and some key defensive stands in the second half, Michigan accomplished a feat not even matched by last year's national champion runner-ups. Coming off a 77-70 win at Wisconsin on Saturday, the Wolverines notched their first back-to-back wins over opponents ranked in the Top 10 since beating No. 5 North Carolina and No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 29 and 30, 1992. (Since those wins aren't in the record books due to NCAA sanctions, the last time U-M "officially" beat back-to-back top 10s was Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, 1979, over No. 4 Michigan State and No. 8 Illinois.) More importantly, Michigan remained perfect in the Big Ten at 6-0 and improved to 14-4 overall. Iowa fell to 15-4 and 4-2 in conference. Glenn Robinson III added 14 points and nine rebounds for U-M. Following a back-and-forth first half featuring seven ties and five lead changes, the Wolverines wrestled away control six minutes into the second half. Clutching a 43-41 lead with 17:33 left, U-M reeled off an 11-2 run over 2 minutes, 36 seconds to take an 11-point lead. Iowa, or more specifically junior Aaron White, wouldn't be subdued for long. The 6-foot-9 forward converted three straight field goals -- including two in five seconds off a layup, stolen in-bound pass and second layup -- to squeeze the lead to 62-58. As he was throughout the game, there was No. 11 for Michigan. Following a series of blown possessions and a scoreless 2:36 stretch, Stauskas knocked down a jumper from the top of the key. White wasn't done, however. He scored again, cutting the lead back to four. With all eyes on Stauskas, Irvin delivered for Michigan. A corner 3-pointer set Crisler off and gave U-M a 67-60 lead. Iowa would battle back to within four with just over a minute to go, but the Hawkeyes got no closer. Stauskas dueled with Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe through a high-level first half. Each had 15 at the break as Michigan carried a 38-34 lead into halftime. Among Stauskas's first-half highlights: a double crossover drive and dish to Jordan Morgan for an and-1, two pull-up jumpers and a spot-up 3-pointer during a 9-0 U-M run. Stauskas was only half the show in the play of the first half, though. He chucked a lob to a streaking Robinson along the baseline for a hanging, acrobatic alley-oop layup. Michigan's offense didn't quite keep up with the defense in the first half. Iowa made 15-of-28 first-half field goals, thanks mostly to seven from Basabe. The Hawkeyes' duo of White and Devyn Marble -- who entered the night combining for 30.3 points per game -- had just five at halftime. Michigan held Iowa to 10-of-25 shooting in the second half and kept Iowa to only 67 points, matching its season low. White finished with 17 thanks to his second-half effort and matched Basabe for team-high honors. Irvin finished with 11 points for U-M. Michigan's win, its eighth straight, sets up a massive league game Saturday at rival Michigan State. The third-ranked Spartans hold a half-game league in the Big Ten standings.
Michigan tops Iowa to stay perfect in Big Ten
Michigan Live | Jan 23