BUFFALO – The fifth-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell to 12th-seeded Richmond, 67-63, on Thursday afternoon at the KeyBank Center. The Hawkeyes finish the 2021-22 season with a 26-10 overall record.
It was not Iowa’s day shooting the basketball, hitting just 36.4 percent (24-of-66) of its field goals and 20.7 percent (6-of-29) from behind the 3-point arc. Buckets were particularly tough to come by in the first half, where the Hawkeyes trailed, 29-28, heading into locker room after shooting just 30.3 percent (10-of-33) overall and 1-of-13 (7.7 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
Still, tough defense and rebounding kept Iowa within striking distance of the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament champions, as the Hawkeyes posted a 26-18 rebounding advantage through the first 20 minutes.
The second half opened with a quick five-point Richmond scoring run to put the Spiders up 34-28, their largest lead of the game to that point. Iowa battled back, however, with redshirt sophomore Patrick McCaffery hitting back-to-back triples to tie things up. That sparked the Hawkeye offense to an 11-0 run which included a Tony Perkins and-one opportunity and McCaffery hit another jumper to put Iowa up 39-34.
Richmond had an answer, reeling off 11 straight points and the Hawkeyes did not score over a five-minute span. The Spiders never looked back, refusing to cede the lead the rest of the way even as Iowa wouldn’t get closer than a two-point deficit.
Sophomore Keegan Murray led the team with 21 points and nine rebounds, shooting 8-of-15 (53.3 percent) on the game and a clutch 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Patrick McCaffery, matching a season-high of 18 points, including four of the Hawkeyes’ six 3-point field goals.
Iowa won the rebounding battle, 40-36, though the Spiders won the second half, 18-14. Thursday’s game marks Iowa’s only loss this season in which the Hawkeyes won the rebounding contest. The Hawkeyes forced 12 turnovers, turning the ball over 11 times themselves.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“We had a couple shots fall out early. Then we settled in a little bit. We shot 1-for-13 in the first half. I don’t remember too many bad ones, we had maybe one or two at the end of the shot clock. The game was physical. Normally we would get to the free throw line more. Typically, we would expect to shoot more than two free throws in the second half, especially the way we were driving the ball.
Defensively, we were not where we needed to be. We were OK at times and we had a couple stretches where we got consecutive stops, but we didn’t get them when we needed them. We executed fairly well with our sets coming down the stretch, but defensively, we had some other things we wanted to do, and we didn’t get that done. I think in a situation like this you have to give respect to your opponent.”
- Keegan Murray scored a team-high 21 points and finished with nine rebounds. It was his 26th game with 20 or more points this season.
- Patrick McCaffery tied a season high, netting 18 points. McCaffery’s four 3-point field goals were a career high.
- The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 40-36. It is the first time this season Iowa lost when winning the rebounding battle (20-1).
- Iowa went on an 11-0 run in the second half. It was the 27th run of 10 or more points this season.
- Iowa was held to 63 points, its lowest output since Jan. 19 at Rutgers (46 points).
- Iowa had won at least one game in each of its last four NCAA Tournament appearances.