IOWA CITY, Iowa - Inspiration can sometimes reach us from far away places. In Jake Kelly’s case, it is College Park, MD.
Members of the Iowa men’s basketball team were out to dinner on Saturday night talking about Greivis Vasquez’s triple-double earlier in the day as Maryland shocked No. 3 North Carolina. Kelly mentioned to his Hawkeye teammates that he thought he could do something like that.
A day later, he almost pulled it off as Iowa outlasted Michigan, 70-60, in overtime on Sunday in front of an announced crowd of 14,642, the second largest in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. Kelly registered career highs in points (23 points), assists (nine, only two turnovers), rebounds (eight) and minutes (45).
“It was unbelievable,” Iowa Teammate Devan Bawinkle said. “We were talking about Greivis Vasquez and (Kelly) thought he could do it. He came pretty close.”
Kelly started his second game in a row at point guard and looked even more comfortable than he did a week ago against Purdue.
“I thought Jake did a terrific job,” Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said. “We’re asking him to do an awful lot. He enjoys doing a lot. Other than just a few times, he was very, very solid.”
In addition to his offensive output, Kelly shut down Michigan star Manny Harris, who scored nine points on 3 of 13 shooting, was pulled by his coach, John Beilein, and did not play in the overtime. Harris came into the game ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.2 points per game.
“I’m playing with a lot of confidence,” Kelly said. “I made some mistakes early, but I adapted. There are definitely some things that I need to work on at (point guard), but I think I’m getting better.”
Matt Gatens added 16 points and six rebounds for Iowa, who ended a two-game losing streak and won for just the second time in its last eight games. Bawinkle chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Jarryd Cole contributed 10 points (5 of 6 from the floor) and seven rebounds.
“They’re a tough team,” Beilein said. “Look at who they have put up hard fights against. Michigan State is the only team that has come in here and not given them a situation where it’s a last-second game.”
Iowa played without starting point guard Jeff Peterson and his backup, Jermain Davis. Peterson missed his second game in a row with a hamstring strain. Davis suffered a knee bruise in Thursday’s practice. Lickliter said Davis was sore and was unsure how long the junior would be out.
Cyrus Tate played for just the second time in Iowa‘s last 11 games. The senior captain entered the contest midway through the second half after missing the last two games with a stubborn high ankle sprain suffered Jan. 8 against Minnesota.
“We just wanted to see,” Lickliter said of putting in Tate. “This was the best he had felt. He didn’t practice this week but went through shoot around. I thought in the second half we needed to see if he could give is a lift and he did.”
Tate played four minutes, scoring two points on a pair of free throws and grabbing a rebound. When he entered the game, the crowd erupted and it appeared to give the Hawkeyes energy.
Up until Tate’s inclusion, Iowa had been employing a six-man rotation with starters Kelly, Gatens, Bawinkle, Cole and Fuller joining David Palmer. Cole, Palmer and Tate rotated while the other guys all played 45 minutes on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes rode a raucous crowd and red-hot Kelly to a fast start in overtime. They scored the first seven points of the extra session and 14 of the first 16 to put it away.
Kelly started things with a short jumper before Gatens connected on a power move inside. Kelly followed with a 3-pointer and a lay-up for a 65-58 home team lead. From there, Gatens hit three of four free throws and Kelly connected on both of his to seal the win.
Kelly said he knew little about his statistics until after the game was completed.
“I just tired to make plays. We needed it,” said Kelly, who hadn‘t played point guard since he was a freshman in high school. “My teammates had a lot of confidence in me in getting me the ball and setting some good screens. I got some mismatches on some big guys and I felt like I could rise up and shoot or take them to the basket.”
Iowa trimmed the Michigan lead to 53-52 on a Kelly jumper with 1 minute, 31 seconds to play in regulation. The Wolverines responded with a trey by Stu Douglass (14 points) on their next possession before Gatens made it 56-54 with a pair of free throws just inside of a minute on the clock.
Harris missed a lay-up and DeShawn Sims (13 points, eight rebounds) was called for an over-the-back foul, sending Gatens to the line for a 1-and-1 with :25.5 on the clock. Gatens connected on both to tie the game.
After a Michigan timeout, the visitors ran the clock down before Harris missed a long three-point attempt at the buzzer and the teams headed to overtime. It represented Iowa’s second extra session of the season and Michigan’s fourth. The Hawkeyes defeated Wisconsin, 73-69, Jan. 21 in Carver.
“I thought our guys showed a lot of heart and toughness and showed poise even when we were down,” Gatens said. “We got some defensive stops, knocked out free throws down and came out on top. It feels great.”
The game included 16 lead changes and seven ties.
Iowa emerged from the locker room ready to play. The home team raced out to a 20-8 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game courtesy of a 13-0 spurt.
Michigan woke up and responded by scoring the next 14 points for a 22-20 lead with 4:37 to play in the half. The Hawkeye scoring drought lasted almost four and a half minutes.
The teams battled back and forth from there with Michigan heading to the intermission with a 29-28 lead. The first half saw nine lead changes and a pair of ties.
Kelly paced the Hawkeyes with eight points and five assists against one turnover before the break. Novak led all scorers with nine points in the opening 20 minutes.
Neither team attempted a first-half free throw. Michigan was whistled for four personals and Iowa had two.