Try as they might with history already not on their side, the Grand Canyon Antelopes couldn’t stop Luka Garza and the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday in a first-round game of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.
Iowa led from start to finish on its way to an 86-74 win.
Garza, the Big Ten player of the year and a candidate for national player of the year, scored 24 points. The Hawkeyes, the No. 2 seed in the West Region, advanced to a second-round game against seventh-seeded Oregon on Monday.
The Ducks moved on after the NCAA ruled their game with VCU, scheduled for later on Saturday night, a no contest due to COVID-19 protocols within the Rams’ program.
Iowa (22-8) got 16 points and nine rebounds from Joe Wieskamp, and made 10 of 22 3-point attempts as a team.
The Antelopes (17-7) were led by center Asbjorn Midtgaard’s 18 points with 15 from Jovan Blacksher Jr. Grand Canyon, the Western Athletic Conference co-regular season and tournament champion, bowed out in its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
A 3-pointer from Wieskamp with 1:41 to play in the first half gave the Hawkeyes a 40-29 lead. Iowa took a 42-31 lead into halftime, the 11-point advantage the largest lead of the half for Iowa.
Wieskamp led Iowa with 11 first-half points. Midtgaard drew two early fouls trying to limit Garza, and it was an uphill battle defensively for Grand Canyon all night long.
Jordan Bohannon hit a 3 with 16:29 to play, giving the Hawkeyes a 56-39 lead. Grand Canyon couldn’t get the deficit under double digits throughout the second half.
A 3-pointer from Oscar Frayer with 34 seconds to play made the score 84-74, but that was the closet the Antelopes could get to the Hawkeyes in the second half.
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Grand Canyon head coach Bryce Drew emptied his bench with 22.2 seconds to let reserves get a taste of March Madness play. A No. 15 seed has beaten a No. 2 seed just nine times in NCAA Tournament history, including Oral Roberts’ upset of Ohio State on Friday.
–Field Level Media