March 22, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
SEATTLE — Second-seeded Gonzaga shot its way to an 87-68 victory over the seventh-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night at KeyArena.
The Bulldogs shot better than 60 percent in both halves to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2009. Gonzaga finished with a 61.5 (32-of-52) field goal percentage and made 10-of-16 3-pointers. The Zags won the rebounding battle, 34-22, and scored 22 points off 11 Iowa turnovers.
“They have a lot of weapons, any way you look at it,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “They have shooters, can throw it inside, drive and share the ball, and are willing passers. They started getting comfortable shooting the ball, and that was unfortunate.”
The Hawkeyes didn’t have an answer for Gonzaga’s inside-outside attack.
Kyle Wiltjer scored a game-high 24 points, making 10-of-12 field goals, including four 3-pointers and seven rebounds, and Domantas Sabonis finished with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting with nine boards. Guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr., scored 16 and 10 points, respectively.
The Hawkeyes shot 46.7 percent (28-of-60), but Iowa couldn’t keep pace with the Bulldogs. The Hawkeyes went 5-of-15 from 3-point range, and only attempted 10 free throws.
Junior Jarrod Uthoff led the team with 20 points and eight rebounds, making 10-of-19 field goals. Senior Aaron White scored 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and junior Anthony Clemmons scored 10 points off the bench.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 11-4 lead over the first three minutes before Iowa rattled off five-straight to trim the deficit to 11-9 at the 14:51 mark. Gonzaga was lights out over the first nine minutes, making 9-of-12 field goals, including 4-of-5 3-pointers to build a 23-15 lead at the 11:32 mark.
Gonzaga pushed its lead to 15-points on a Wiltjer 3-pointer with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. The Hawkeyes trimmed the deficit to 10 points with 3:18 left, but the Zags closed out the half with a 10-3 run to take a 17-point advantage into the locker room.
The Hawkeyes tried to make it a game coming out of the break, scoring eight of the first 10 points — six from Uthoff — to trim the deficit to 48-37 with 17:35 left. Pangos provided an answer, draining a 3-pointer at the 15:53 mark following an Iowa turnover, to ignite a 7-0 run to push the lead to 54-37.
Iowa kept battling, cutting the deficit to 56-43 on a White 3-pointer with 13:05 left and getting to within 11 three times — 56-45, 58-47, and 60-49 with 10:50 remaining, but Gonzaga was too much.
“We had a clean look at a 3 in transition, if that goes in that might have changed some things,” said McCaffery.
The Zags put the game away with a 10-0 run, which was capped off by a Pangos 3-pointer at the 6:37 mark, that pushed their advantage to 69-49 with 6:37 to play.
Iowa finishes the season with a 22-12 overall record.