116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa did Saturday what No. 2-seeds are supposed to do in the first round of an NCAA men's basketball tournament.
There was no allowing the plucky underdog from a mid-major conference to hang around all game and then pluck you from the tournament, as No. 15-seed Oral Roberts did to No. 2-seed Ohio State Saturday, or as 13-seed North Texas did to 4-seed Purdue.
'Watching games yesterday,' Iowa's Luka Garza said, 'you've got to learn some lessons from the other teams. We wanted to make sure we threw the first punch tonight.'
Garza punched away early with a pair of 3-pointers in the first 2:27, and the Hawkeyes jumped to an 11-2 lead against 15-seed Grand Canyon at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. They never trailed in their 86-74 win over the Western Athletic Conference champs from Phoenix.
Iowa (22-8) advanced to a Monday second-round matchup against Pac-12 regular-season champion Oregon, with the time and Indianapolis location to be determined late Saturday night.
The Ducks reached the second round by default because three VCU players tested positive for COVID-19 in Indianapolis within 48 hours and weren't allowed to play Oregon Saturday.
Iowa, meanwhile, got in two good hours of work against the Antelopes. The Hawkeyes shot 53.7 percent from the field, were 10-of-22 from 3-point range, made just six turnovers, and quelled everything resembling a rally by GCU (17-7).
'They shot the mess out of the ball,' said Antelopes Coach Bryce Drew. 'We just played a real good team.'
After a week between games and living under tight restrictions mandated by the NCAA in their team hotel all week, 'I think we were really focused on everything we did,' Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said.
His team exploited 3-point opportunities, particularly for 6-foot-11 banger Luka Garza against 7-foot GCU center Asbjorn Midtgaard. Garza sank 4 of 5 treys after making just 2 of his previous 14, and scored a game-high 24 points.
'He's a Player of the Year candidate for a reason,' Drew said.
'We wanted to be able to kind of drag their big man,' Garza said. 'He's really, really good. So they put me in pick-and-pop situations.
'In the conference tournament I think I got a little gun-shy from 3. Tonight I wasn't going to do any of that.'
Joe Wieskamp had 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jordan Bohannon had 13 points. Garza was Garza. But the Hawkeyes' bench was the team's story of the first half when it took its double-digit lead.
Keegan Murray, Joe Toussaint, Patrick McCaffery and Tony Perkins combined for 20 points in the half, and did a lot more than that. Toussaint made his first 3-pointer since the season's second game and was aggressive at both ends.
'No question they were tremendous,' Fran McCaffery said, 'both on the glass and offensively.'
Murray had 13 points, seven rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots. 'I think just being relentless every possession,' Murray said about his shot-blocking prowess.
Iowa led by as much as 19 points and was never up by less than 10 after halftime.
Comments: (319) 398-8440; firstname.lastname@example.org