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No. 10-seed Iowa rallied from an 18-5 first-half deficit to knock off No. 7-seed Cincinnati 79-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
It's the Hawkeyes' first NCAA Tournament win since beating Temple in the 2016 first round.
Coverage from Columbus:
MVP: Luka Garza's NCAA Tournament debut was a dandy. The Hawkeye big man totaled 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and seven rebounds, turning into a force on the block that helped change the game. Nysier Brooks (11 points, 5 rebounds) was dominant early for Cincinnati, but Garza fouled him out in the second half.
Turning point: The Hawkeyes stayed within striking distance after cutting the lead to 36-31 at halftime and took a pair of brief leads early in the second half. But clutch time was winning time for Iowa, which produced an 18-5 run after trailing 59-55 with 8:05 left. Joe Wieskamp (2) and Nicholas Baer buried big treys during that stretch. Garza gave Iowa a 64-62 lead on a layup with 4:03 to go and Iowa never trailed again. Bohannon's three-point play with 1:07 left made it 73-64, enough of an advantage to withstand a late Bearcat charge.
Key stat: 7-10. After a 1-for-16 performance from 3-point range in their last game, a 74-53 Big Ten tournament quarterfinal loss to Michigan, Iowa heated up one week later. The Hawkeyes canned half of their 22 3-point attempts, including 7 of 11 in the second half.
Points: Luka Garza, Iowa (20); Justin Jenifer, Cincinnati (19)
Rebounds: Luka Garza, Iowa (7); Tre Scott, Cincinnati (7)
Assists: Tyler Cook, Jordan Bohannon, Iowa (4); Jarron Cumberland, Cincinnati (4)
Steals: Joe Wieskamp, Iowa (1); Four tied, Cincinnati (1)
Blocks: Joe Wieskamp, Iowa (1); Tre Scott, Nysier Brooks, Cincinnati (1)
3-Pointers: Joe Wieskamp, Iowa (4-6); Justin Jenifer (3-7), Jarron Cumberland (3-9), Cincinnati
Up next: The Hawkeyes (23-11) will play No. 2-seed Tennessee in the second round Sunday. Tipoff time will be announced Friday night.