Luke Garza scored 20 points and Iowa used an 18-5 run late in the second half to rally for a 79-72 victory over Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday in Columbus, Ohio.
Garza’s layup with 3:44 remaining gave Iowa (23-11) a 64-62 lead that it would not relinquish.
Iowa advances to the second round to play second-seeded Tennessee, which outlasted Colgate 77-70 earlier Friday in South Region action. Cincinnati’s season is over at 28-7.
Iowa made two key runs to take a one-point lead in the second half, but both times the Bearcats answered.
But after Garza’s layup, Joe Wieskamp hit a 3-pointer to give Iowa its biggest lead at 70-64 with 1:39 left, and the Hawkeyes held on from there.
Garza finished 8 for 11 from the floor and hit two 3-pointers to go with seven rebounds. Wieskamp finished with 19.
Justin Jenifer led Cincy with 19 points, leading scorer Jarron Cumberland finished with 18 points, 14 of those in the second half.
The Bearcats held Iowa scoreless for six minutes and used a 14-0 run to take a 36-31 lead into halftime.
The Bearcats took their biggest lead of the half, 18-5, with 11:57 remaining.
Jenifer had the hot hand for Cincy in the first 20 minutes, scoring 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting, including knocking down two 3-pointers.
The Bearcats hassled Iowa into seven turnovers in the first half, but Wieskamp scored all 10 of his points in the final 11 minutes to get the Hawkeyes back into the game. Wieskamp’s layup and 3-pointer culminated a 7-0 run by Iowa to trim the lead to five with 1:44 to go before the break.
Cumberland scored just four points but dished out three assists.
The Bearcats were plus-six on the boards in the first half, all of those coming on the offensive end (9 to 3), leading to 11 second-chance points.
—Field Level Media