116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Iowa’s 21-point first-half lead vanished in Virginia, but its resilience surfaced.
Junior guard Joe Toussaint banked in a jumper off a drive with eight seconds left, and Iowa stopped two Cavaliers shots after that for a 75-74 victory.
“Go make a play,” Toussaint said after the game. “It was that simple. The ball was in my hands. Go make a play.
“We’re down one. Make the right read. ... The shot was just a regular shot for me, to be honest.”
“He’s always been a really talented player,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said about Toussaint. “What he’s really mastering now is the ability to engineer victory and make plays coming down the stretch.”
The Hawkeyes improved to 7-0 and got their seventh ACC/Big Ten Challenge win in their last nine tries. Virginia, the first top-200 team Iowa has played this season, is 5-3.
“You’re on the road, you’re playing one of the best teams in the country,” Fran McCaffery said. “Packed house. At some point of the game, there’s going to be some adversity.
“We overcame adversity a number of different times and got contributions from a lot of different people.”
Virginia was down 58-44 with 12:56 left, but then began sealing things up on defense while making a large percentage of shots. Iowa’s Filip Rebraca scored with 3:18 left for a 70-63 Hawkeyes lead, but the Hoos were up 71-70 less than two minutes later.
Virginia made three 3-pointers in that stretch to erase the lead Iowa had held since it went up 3-2 early in the game. Taine Murray, a freshman guard from New Zealand, made the first two of those 3s.
Kihei Clark’s 3 with 45 seconds left put Virginia up 74-73. Jordan Bohannon missed a 3-pointer, then fouled Murray, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one.
The Cavaliers tied up Toussaint in the Iowa end, but the possession went to Iowa, and McCaffery called a timeout with 16 seconds left. Moments later, Toussaint made the biggest shot of his career.
Clark missed a driving shot defended by Toussaint. Virginia’s Kadin Shedrick rebounded, but his last-second put-back was blocked from behind by Patrick McCaffery.
“I just backed up with my hands out,” Toussaint said. “(Clark’s shot) rolled out and Patrick came in and saved the day, smacked the ball in the fifth row.”
“What a great block, a game-saving block,” Fran McCaffery said. “He timed it, he went and got it. I’m so happy for him, he had a really good ballgame.”
Virginia played its game in the second half, making shots harder to come by for the Hawkeyes while shooting 63 percent in the half. Murray had scored a total of four points all season before hitting four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points for the Cavaliers.
Iowa had used a 15-0 run to open a 40-19 lead in John Paul Jones Arena. Bohannon had 12 of his game-high 20 points up to that point.
Virginia scored the final six points of the half to draw within 44-30. The 44 was the most an opponent had scored in the first half of any game at Virginia in Tony Bennett’s 13 seasons as the Cavaliers’ coach.
Virginia entered the game allowing just 53.5 points, the fewest of any major-conference team in the nation.
Bohannon made six 3-pointers, two in that 15-0 stretch. He made one of those 3s with 1:15 left in the game for a short-lived 73-71 Iowa lead.
“We got knocked down a couple times and were able to get back up,” Bohannon said. “We didn’t let anything rile us up. We just kept our composure.”
“He’s such a gamer,” Fran McCaffery said about Bohannon. “He’s so smart, he’s so tough mentally. You knew he was going to come out on fire. You knew he was going to be able to adjust when they adjusted to him.”
Keegan Murray had 18 points and nine rebounds for Iowa. He turned an ankle in the second half, but returned to the game after a brief trip to the locker room. It was the season-low for the nation’s leading scorer, but he had a splendid all-around game with three assists. Toussaint had 10 points.
Iowa shot 53.6 percent from the field and was 10-of-21 from 3-point distance. It needed every basket.
The Hawkeyes’ next game is its Big Ten-opener, Friday at 8 p.m. at No. 2 Purdue. The 6-0 Boilermakers host Florida State Tuesday night.
“As fun as it was tonight,” said Bohannon, “we have another big-time coming up that we have to go to Friday.”