Birmingham, Ala. — Interest about whether or not Iowa’s NCAA event opener could be performed in entrance of a in large part pro-Auburn crowd at Legacy Enviornment used to be responded prior to the outlet tip-off.
As quickly because the Tigers stepped onto the ground, thunderous applause greeted them, and the orange-and-blue buyers made positive that the Hawkeyes’ first-round problem could be simply as intense.
As Sports activities Illustrated’s Pat Ford tweeted originally of the sport, Auburn used to be “driving the most important homecourt benefit in No. 9 seed historical past.”
And with each and every second-half 3-pointer the sizzling Tigers made, that proved to be true. The momentum drove a 17-point second-half benefit, and Auburn close out the eighth-seeded Hawkeyes, 83–75, within the Midwest area opener.
Iowa ended their season with 3 instantly shutout losses and a 19–14 document. Its ultimate win of the season got here on February 28 at Bloomington, Indiana. In different phrases, the Hawkeyes went 0-for-March.
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The Iowa avid gamers didn’t use highway congestion as an excuse, however it used to be without a doubt an element.
“It hit us a little bit bit,” stated Iowa’s Tony Perkins.
Iowa trainer Fran McCaffery used to be requested a point-blank query: would this recreation were other if it have been performed in Des Moines? There have been undoubtedly numerous questions on why the lower-seeded workforce (even within the 8 vs. 9 recreation) used to be necessarily given home-court benefit within the first around… after which (doubtlessly) in the second one around. in opposition to top-seeded Houston.
“I feel it most likely would were (other). I feel that is an even remark,” McCaffery stated. “However the environments we see (within the Large Ten) have been harder than that more often than not. To not say that it wasn’t spectacular within the NCAA event, however that is what we are facing at Indiana, at Rutgers, at Maryland, at Michigan, Within the state of Michigan. That is no excuse.”
And with it, Iowa’s Candy 16 drought has prolonged to 24 seasons, 13 of them beneath McCaffery. Seventy-five systems have made it to the regional finals for the reason that Hawkeyes ultimate did it in 1999, and that quantity may just upward push this weekend.
Auburn (21-12) moved one step nearer to its personal Candy 16 bid beneath former Hawkeye assistant Bruce Pearl. The Tigers’ cold-shooting get started ended in a torrid moment 1/2, wherein they scored 16 issues in lower than 2½ mins to take a 58–41 benefit with 10:50 last.
Because it grew to become out, Iowa pulled away early, alternatively, and Kris Murray’s dunk minimize the result in 17 issues at 60–56 with 4:56 last. As Iowa fastened a counterattack, the Auburn crowd was increasingly more worried. Sooner or later, the Tigers blew a 17-point lead within the ultimate 11 mins at Alabama on March 1 and misplaced in time beyond regulation.
“I believe like this used to be the tale of the season,” stated Iowa’s Filip Rebraka, who had 14 issues and 7 rebounds, “the place now we have our excellent 1/2 and our dangerous 1/2.”
However Auburn got here within and made their unfastened throws, whilst Iowa had an opportunity to attract the sport even nearer with six instantly misses from 3-point vary. 3 times, Iowa had 3-point makes an attempt to chop the deficit to 3 … however all overlooked.
Murray stated, “We’ve got were given a excellent glance.” “That is all you’ll want to ask for.”
Auburn’s deficient 3-point taking pictures and very good 3-point taking pictures protection each confirmed within the first 1/2. The Tigers hooked up simply 1-of-9 from lengthy vary, however that one – a third right down to lefty through Wendell Inexperienced Jr. – introduced down domestic and gave Auburn a 21–12 lead.
In the meantime, Iowa’s 3-point struggles persevered in hard-to-believe model clear of Carver Hockey Enviornment. The Hawkeyes went 0-for-9 from 3 within the first 1/2, and maximum of the ones passes weren’t. Murray bounced a three and out across the rim, marking his first 1/2. Junior scored 4 issues within the first 2:17 of the sport, however didn’t rating once more till the 14:30 mark of the second one 1/2.
McCaffery looked for any solutions, even putting true freshman Dasonte Bowen for his first motion of March.
Nonetheless, regardless of Iowa’s Wilson-Ball woes and a stretch wherein he overlooked 11 instantly field-goal makes an attempt, the Hawkeyes’ halftime deficit used to be a manageable 31–26.
Sophomore Peyton Sandfort gave Iowa the lead in the second one 1/2. He scored 17 of his team-best 21 issues after halftime. A 3rd-team AP All-American, Murray scored 15 issues however got here on 5-for-18 taking pictures.
“That is what now we have achieved all yr. We battle. We by no means lose hope,” Sandfort stated.
Iowa completed 7-for-27 from 3-point vary, best 25.9%. Some of the worst 3-point taking pictures groups within the nation, Auburn hit 7-for-13 from deep in the second one 1/2. The gang used to be in the back of the Tigers each step of the way in which… into the second one duration.
Alan Flanigan of Auburn stated, “Place of origin, they have been deep and heavy.” “They confirmed up. They have been speedy and rowdy the entire recreation. Felt like a house recreation for us.”
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistico has coated sports activities for 28 years with The Des Moines Check in, USA These days and the Iowa Town Press-Citizen. Practice @ChadLeistikow on Twitter,