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Published: Friday, 3/12/2010

Michigan tops Iowa; OSU up next in Big Ten


INDIANAPOLIS - Michigan will meet Ohio State for the third time this season after the Wolverines beat Iowa 59-52 yesterday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Big Ten tournament.

Michigan (15-16) got off to a hot start and led the Hawkeyes by 16 with about nine minutes left in the first half. That sharp beginning was critical since the Wolverines had come out flat in the first half of a recent 16-point loss to Michigan State, going just 5-of-23.

"That was good for our psycshe, to come out today and have the shots falling," Michigan guard Zack Novak said. "It built us a little cushion."

The Wolverines led 32-23 at the half after going the final six minutes without a field goal, but senior DeShawn Sims said he was confident the lead would hold up.

"We had to come out and try and sustain some energy," Sims said. "We got a little momentum going."

Iowa (10-22) made a push to open the second half and closed to within 34-30 on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by freshman guard Cully Payne, but Michigan answered with a triple from Novak and opened up some breathing room again.

"We just got cold for a little bit," Novak said, "but we got back on the right track."

Manny Harris made a steal at the Iowa end and went the distance for a layup, giving the Wolverines a 53-39 lead with 6:30 left in the game. Iowa got within five in the closing minutes with one more surge but missed four shots in one possession and saw the flame go out.

Harris led Michigan with 22 points and nine rebounds, while Sims had 14 points. Payne had 25 points for the Hawkeyes.

Michigan, with four of its starters playing 30 minutes or more against Iowa, has to come back at noon today to face the top-seeded Big Ten co-champion Buckeyes (24-7), who had a first-round bye in the tournament.

The Wolverines defeated Ohio State 73-64 in Ann Arbor in early January and then lost to the Buckeyes 66-55 in Columbus at the end of February. In that loss at the Schottenstein Center, Michigan led by one at the half and placed five players in double-figures.

"We beat them for a full game, and then we beat them for a half the second time," Novak said, "so we're confident coming in. We're going to go out, have fun, and see what happens."

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