2019 NCAA TOURNAMENT

Iowa rallies to knock off Cincinnati in NCAA Tournament first round

Iowa Hawkeyes guard Jordan Bohannon (3) takes a shot over Cincinnati Bearcats guard Justin Jenifer (3) during the first half of first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 22, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes guard Jordan Bohannon (3) takes a shot over Cincinnati Bearcats guard Justin Jenifer (3) during the first half of first round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, March 22, 2019. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Just when it seemed like Iowa’s late-season slide would end with a whimper, the Hawkeyes responded a rally to extend their season.

Iowa buried 11 of 22 3-point attempts, including 7 of 11 in the second half and earned its first NCAA Tournament win since 2016 with a 79-72 victory over Cincinnati in a first-round game Friday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Nicholas Bear’s 3 from the wing gave No. 10-seed Iowa (23-11) a 62-59 lead with 5:46 left. After No. 7-seed Cincinnati (28-7) tied it, Luka Garza scored two of his game-high 20 points inside to put the Hawkeyes back in front. It was the start of an 18-5 run that eventually saw Iowa go up 73-64 on Bohannon’s three-point play with 1:07 remaining.

The Bearcats got within 77-72 on Jarron Cumberland’s 3 with 20 seconds left, but no closer.

The Hawkeyes fell behind 18-5 early, appearing to continue their form that saw them lose five of their last six games. But Iowa got within 36-31 at halftime and took brief second-half leads on 3-pointers from Jordan Bohannon and Connor McCaffery.

Joe Wieskamp added 19 points on 6-for-8 shooting, including 4-for-6 from deep. He hit two treys during the game-changing 18-5 run. Bohannon finished with 13, Baer 10.

Justin Jenifer led Cincinnati with 19 points, while Cumberland had 18.

The Hawkeyes will play No. 2-seed Tennessee in the second round Sunday.

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