Simpson heads Michigan, No. 10, on a 74-53 win over Iowa

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CHICAGO (AP) – Zavier Simpson was pretty much perfect, and everything was set up for the Michigan number 10.

Just another day at the Big Ten tournament for the Wolverines.

Simpson unleashed Michigan's balanced offense with 10 points and 11 assists, and the Wolverines overtook Iowa 74-53 on Friday night.

Looking for her third consecutive title at the Big Ten, Michigan, third seeded tournament, she's qualified for the semifinals for the fourth straight year. He will win his third victory against Minnesota this season by facing the surprising Gophers on Saturday afternoon.

"There is nothing intentional here – we are just trying to improve every day," said coach John Beilein. "I think if you participate in tournaments and you are usually a team that does not fight on its own during the season, you may be successful at that time."

It's certainly helpful to have a leader like Simpson, who went from 4 to 4 on the field and 2 to 2 on the line with a single roll. The six-foot junior also played the defense against Jordan Bohannon, who averaged 11.7 points before being scoreless in almost 27 minutes against the Wolverines (27-5).

"We looked well, we played well," Simpson said. "The key today was to move the ball, guys can shoot, guys can score, guys can drive in and get in. If we do that, we have the feeling of being in a good position."

Michigan scored 10 points and placed five double-digit players, bouncing off Saturday's disappointing loss to rival Michigan State. Ignas Brazdeikis had 15 points and Jon Teske had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Luke Garza and Tyler Cook each scored 14 points, but Iowa was icy from a deep night after scoring 12 points at 3 points in a 83-62 win over Illinois. The Hawkeyes scored 1 against 16 against the Wolverines and shot 36 percent (21 versus 59) overall.

"We have to give credit to our opponent for that, but in general we will not be a team ranging from 1 to 16," said coach Fran McCaffery. "It changes the dynamics of the game."

Iowa (22-11) beat Michigan 32% of goals in a 74-59 win on Feb. 1 in its only meeting of the season. But the Wolverines love this time of year.

Charles Matthews came back from a right ankle injury and Michigan celebrated with an impressive offensive display. With Simpson calmly leading the show, the Wolverines put the Hawkeyes away with a 15-2 record in the second half.

Brazdeikis and Eli Brooks opened the decisive sequence with 3 points. Simpson fed Teske for a jam and then cashed a small float to bring him back to 59-35 with 13:44 remaining.

"We were not active in defense," Garza said. "They were getting open fire, we just can not do that."

Matthews had five points on one in nine goals in his first game after being injured against the Spartans on Feb. 24. The Chicago native received a huge ovation when he was introduced with the starter training.

"Without him, we are not the same team," said Brazdeikis. "I'm just super excited that he's back, that changes everything for us offensively and defensively."

WINNER

It was Michigan's ninth consecutive win in the Big Ten tournament, which ended in a draw with Ohio State.

GREAT IMAGE

Iowa: Bohannon missed both field shots and Joe Wieskamp had only three points on a one-on-five shot. The Hawkeyes will need more than two guards to participate in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan: This is the kind of effective performance that makes Michigan difficult in March. Led by Simpson, the Wolverines finished with 24 assists and seven turnovers. Isaiah Livers scored 13 points and Jordan Poole finished with 11 points.

FOLLOWING

Iowa is waiting to see where he goes in the NCAA tournament.

Michigan defeated Minnesota 59-57 on Jan. 22 and Gophers 69-60 on Feb. 21.

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Jay Cohen can be contacted at https://twitter.com/jcohenap

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