By JAMES ALLAN
LAS VEGAS — San Diego State overcame a 16-point first-half deficit to down the University of Iowa men’s basketball team, 83-73, in the championship game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Friday night at Orleans Arena.
The Aztecs trailed 37-21 with three minutes left in the first half and 41-32 at the break before out-scoring the Hawkeyes by 19 points over the final 20 minutes to improve to 8-0 on the season. San Diego State shot 51.7 percent from the field in the second half, made five 3s, and went 16-of-17 from the free throw line.
Malachi Flynn, who was named the Tournament MVP, scored all 28 points of his points in the second half, making 8-of-13 field goals, three 3-pointers and nine free throws.
San Diego State limited Iowa to 10 second-half field goals.
The Hawkeyes used a 12-2 run in the first half to build a 29-19 lead and Iowa’s lead stretched to 37-21 on a Ryan Kriener layup with 3:05 remaining.
San Diego State scored eight of the final 10 points in the first half to close the gap to 41-32 before erasing the deficit and taking the lead at the 15-minute mark of the second half.
Three Hawkeyes landed in double figures with CJ Fredrick leading the way with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Redshirt sophomore Connor McCaffery scored 15 points, and freshman Joe Toussaint added 13.
Junior Luka Garza had nine points and eight rebounds.
San Diego State had five players reach double figures and it shot 51.9 percent for the game, made 11 3-pointers, and went 18-of-19 from the free throw line. Iowa finished with a 40.4 field goal percentage, made nine 3-pointers, and went 18-of-20 from the line.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“We had a great effort tonight for the first half and part of the second half. We didn’t put a great 40 minutes together today like we did yesterday. That’s something we have to learn from.”
- Garza and Fredrick were named to the All-Tournament team.
- Iowa scored 17 points off 15 San Diego State turnovers.
- The Hawkeyes had 13 offensive rebounds that they turned into 10 second-chance points.
- McCaffery and Toussaint’s point totals were season-bests.
The Hawkeyes return to action Tuesday, traveling to Syracuse to face the Orange in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (CT).