Nothing about this was easy.
But Michigan basketball avoided a nightmare and will live to play another day in New York City.
Despite constant issues with foul trouble and poor shooting throughout, the fifth-seeded Wolverines got 16 points from Charles Matthews and 11 off the bench from Duncan Robinson to hold off No. 12 Iowa, 77-71, in overtime during second round action of the Big Ten tournament at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.
U-M (25-7) advances to Friday's quarterfinal round, where it will play No. 4 Nebraska at 2:30 p.m.
Battling through foul trouble and poor shooting all the way, Michigan still found itself up six with 1:15 to go in regulation. But Iowa cut lead that in half with a triple from Nicholas Baer at the 59-second mark to make it 67-64.
And after Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman missed the front end of a 1 and 1, Iowa's Jordan Bohannon buried a deep three from the top of the key to tie the game with 16 seconds left. Abdur-Rahkman's layup attempt at the other end was off, sending the game into overtime.
The Wolverines entered the overtime session without leading scorer Moritz Wagner, who fouled out with 4:39 to go in regulation, and then lost Abdur-Rahkman to fouls after his fifth was called with 2:39 to go and the game tied at 69-all.
Duncan Robinson gave Michigan some breathing room with a triple, just Michigan's third of the game, to make it 72-70 with 2:17 left. After Zavier Simpson split a pair of foul shots to make it a three-point game, the Wolverines got a stop and another split at the line from Simpson to go up 74-70 with 1:11 left.
Iowa drew within one after a Tyler Cook free throw and had two more looks at the basket down three. Both were off. Robinson hit two free throws to extend the lead to five with 10 seconds left, effectively icing the game.
Michigan finished 18 of 32 from the foul line, 3 of 19 from 3-point range and was whistled for 22 fouls in total.
Still, somehow, the Wolverines pushed through to the next round.
The foul situation for Michigan was unusual enough to put the Wolverines in a bind during the first half as John Beilein opted to sit Abdur-Rahkman, Robinson and Wagner for a large stretch to close the first half. All three had two fouls.
The second half featured more of the same at the beginning, as Iowa was in the bonus at the 14:09 mark of the second half. Wagner fouled out with 4:39 to play, he logged 11 points in just 15 minutes.
Abdur-Rahkman, meanwhile, was limited to just 22 minutes of action before fouling out for the first time all season.
This wasn't a season-high for fouls, believe it or not, as the Wolverines were whistled for 25 during a win at Michigan State in January.
Michigan could not buy a shot from deep Thursday, missing its first 12 attempts before Robinson broke through with back-to-back triples in the second half.
His 3-pointer in overtime and two free throws were massive for Michigan in the final two minutes. With a constant parade of missed foul shots and empty looks, the Wolverines' senior co-captain did enough to pull this out of the fire.
Robinson had 11 points and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench.
Free throw problems
It crept back up against Michigan on Thursday, as the Wolverines shot just 56.3 percent from the line.
Simpson went 2 of 5, Matthews went 6 of 10. Jon Teske missed two critical free throws late in overtime. Abdur-Rahkman missed a big one toward the end of regulation.
With foul trouble, poor outside shooting and nothing at the foul line, the Wolverines seemed to set themselves up for a perfect storm loss Thursday.
In the end, though, Michigan advances.