By JAMES ALLAN
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was almost a come-from-behind victory for the ages.
The 10th-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team erased a 25-point first half deficit to force overtime, but second-seeded Tennessee outscored the Hawkeyes, 12-6, in the extra frame to post an 83-77 NCAA Tournament victory to advance to the Sweet 16.
After trailing 49-28 at the half, the Hawkeyes came out a different team in the second half. Junior Tyler Cook was held scoreless in the opening 20 minutes before giving the Hawkeyes a spark to comeback.
The St. Louis native scored Iowa’s first nine points of the second half to cut the 21-point deficit to 14. Cook’s jumper at the 13:35 mark capped a 16-4 run and close the gap to single digits with 13:35 to play.
“That just shows our resilience,” said junior Isaiah Moss. “Like the game against Cincinnati, we don’t give up. We know if we continue to fight we give ourselves a chance to win.”
Trailing 61-50 with 9:15 to play. Iowa used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 61-58 with 7:23 to play. Down 65-58 with 5:35 remaining, sophomore Luka Garza’s three-point play trimmed the deficit to 65-51 and an Isaiah Moss 3-pointer from the corner (with the shot clock expiring) made the score 65-64 with 4:21 to play.
Iowa trailed 71-67 with 57 seconds remaining when Moss’ driving layup pulled the Hawkeyes to within two and two Wieskamp free throws tied the game at 71 with 20 seconds left. Tennessee had a final chance for the win, but Jordan Bone missed a 3-pointer with four seconds left, sending the game to overtime.
From there, the Vols seized control, scoring the first seven points of the bonus frame before running out six-point winners.
“Grant Williams hit some big shots,” said Garza. “He’s a big-time player. We defended him well, but he had a couple turnarounds and different stuff like that.
“We executed well down the stretch when we needed to toward the end and got a couple of layups to keep us in it, but I think if we could have stopped him, it was hard.”
Tennessee finished the game shooting 46.7 percent (28-of-60) from the field, including an 8-of-20 effort from 3-point range. Iowa shot 39 percent (23-of-59) and went 7-of-21 from long range. The Hawkeyes scored 19 points off 17 Vol turnovers.
All five Hawkeye starters reached double figures with junior Jordan Bohannon leading the way with 18 points. Moss scored 16, Garza had 13, and Wieskamp and Cook finished with 11 points apiece. Cook also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Tennessee came out on fire making eight of its first 12 shots, including three 3-pointers, to build a 20-9 lead. The Vols slashed to 24 first-half points in the paint to build a 44-19 lead with 4:22 left.
Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield led the Vols with 19 points apiece.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“It starts with effort. I think it started with we got some stops early. We got some run-outs and we got a few buckets. Cook got going, then Garza, then Moss, then Bohannon got going. We fed off that energy. The impressive thing for me, and what I’m most proud of as a coach, is how we stayed connected and we stayed together, because anything short of that and you’re not going to be able to come back like we did.”
- Today was the first overtime game of the 2019 NCAA Tournament and was Iowa’s fifth overtime game in the NCAA Tournament all-time.
- The last two Iowa-Tennessee games played in the NCAA Tournament have gone to overtime (2014 First Four, 2019 Round of 32).
- Bohannon made three 3-pointers today to surpass Jeff Horner (2003-06) to become Iowa’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals made as a junior.
- Iowa finished this season with 23 victories, its second highest total in 13 seasons and most victories under Fran McCaffery for an NCAA Tournament team.
- Iowa finished the season with five victories over nationally ranked opponents, matching its highest total in 13 seasons (2015-16 season).