Wednesday January 3rd Local Sports

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Michigan has leaned heavily on its starters all season.

But Big Blue got a huge lift from its bench on Tuesday night — an encouraging sign now that Big Ten play has resumed.

Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman each scored 15 points and Michigan beat host Iowa 75-68, extending its winning streak to six games.

Charles Matthews scored 14 points and Isaiah Livers had 13 for the Wolverines (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who won in Iowa City for the first time since 2011 thanks in part to the 37 points they got from the bench.

Starters Duncan Robinson and Moritz Wagner struggled, combining for just nine points. But Simpson added seven assists and Livers hit five of his six shots in 27 minutes.

“Our bench came in and just did a great job,” Michigan coach John Beilein said.

What was supposed to be a close game never really was — not after the blistering start that Michigan got off to.

The Wolverines made eight of their first 11 3s, and an early 19-4 run helped put it ahead by as much as 18 late in the first half.

Iowa (9-7, 0-3) briefly closed to within seven early in the second half. But it kept leaving Michigan open for easy 3s, including one from Abdur-Rahkman that made it 69-54 with 6:49 left.

“We couldn’t miss,” Beilein said. “We really shot the ball well. If we had missed some of those shots, I might have a different story to tell.”

The Wolverines finished 11 of 25 on 3s.

Tyler Cook had 28 for the Hawkeyes. They went 15 of 37 from the floor on shots not taken by Cook, but went on a late 9-0 run that made the score seem closer than the game actually was.

“It was kind of like, ‘Go ahead (Cook). Go score,'” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We’ve got to make sure we can play off of him a little bit more.”

The Hawkeyes host Ohio State on Thursday night.


DES MOINES — Two teams off to unbeaten starts in Missouri Valley Conference play collide in the Knapp Center when Drake hosts Illinois State. The Bulldogs are considered a surprise at 2-0 while the Redbirds are the defending Valley champs.


That’s Drake coach Niko Medved who feels a tough non conference schedule got his team ready for the league race.


Tipoff at the Knapp Center is scheduled for 7 o’clock tonight.


— high school boys basketball last night
#5/1A Garrigan 58, Forest City 56
West Hancock 83, Belmond-Klemme 59
St. Ansgar 53, Northwood-Kensett 36
Lake Mills 72, North Iowa 70
Charles City 65, Waverly-Shell Rock 61 (OT)


— high school girls basketball last night
#12/3A Forest City 45, #11/1A Garrigan 38 (OT)
#6/1A West Hancock 82, Belmond-Klemme 23
Lake Mills 39, North Iowa 26
St. Ansgar 59, Northwood-Kensett 29
Waverly-Shell Rock 64, Charles City 12



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford returned to practice on Tuesday, two months after a cleanup surgery on his left knee.

Bradford, who led the Vikings to a season-opening win over New Orleans before experiencing pain in the twice-repaired joint, had the latest procedure done on Nov. 7. He was placed on injured reserve the following day, so the team could activate Teddy Bridgewater from the physically unable to perform list. This was the first week Bradford was eligible to resume practicing with the team.

The Vikings, who have a first-round bye and open the postseason at home on Jan. 14, now have up to three weeks to decide whether to put Bradford back on the active roster for the playoffs. Bridgewater and Kyle Sloter are the current backups to Case Keenum.

The Vikings held five players back in practice on Tuesday, during the portion open to reporters: Tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle), fullback C.J. Ham (neck), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (undisclosed), backup safety Anthony Harris (undisclosed) and backup defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (ankle).



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Several teams are aggressively arranging interviews for head coach vacancies this week and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has become a person of high interest. The vast improvement by the Vikings during Shurmur’s first full year in charge of the offense has made it easy to see why. They went from 19th to third in the league in third down conversion rate and climbed from 23rd to 10th in scoring despite injuries that forced several adjustments.



ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild marked Zach Parise’s season debut after recovering from back surgery with a relentless performance typical of the star forward.

Matt Cullen and Eric Staal each scored twice and the Wild beat Florida 5-1 Tuesday night, snapping the Panthers’ five-game winning streak. Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves and Charlie Coyle added an empty-netter to help Minnesota win for the third time in four games.

Jared Spurgeon had three assists for the Wild, who put up a season-high 41 shots — including a season-high for a period with 19 in a dominant second period.

Staal had his fourth multi-goal game of the season in adding to his team lead with 17 goals. Cullen had his first multi-goal game since April 7, 2016, doubling his season output.



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