RECAP: Oregon Ducks dominates Iowa to reach Sweet 16

Mar 22, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Luka Garza (55) loses the ball against the Oregon Ducks during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Duarte scored 23 points to lift seventh-seeded Oregon to a 95-80 win over second-seeded Iowa on Monday in a West Region second-round game in Indianapolis.

Oregon (21-6) played its first contest in the NCAA Tournament after its first-round game against VCU was called off due to COVID-19 protocols affecting the Rams’ program. The Ducks advanced automatically to the next round and didn’t miss a beat on Monday.

LJ Figueroa had 21 points and Will Richardson added 19 for the Pac-12 regular-season champions, who advanced to play either Kansas or USC in the Sweet 16.

The Ducks made 55.9 percent of their shots for the game.

Star forward Luka Garza erupted for 36 points for the Hawkeyes (22-9), who didn’t have an answer for the Ducks on both ends of the court.

Garza checked out of the game in the final seconds, wiping away tears in what was his final game in an Iowa uniform. His No. 55 is to be retired by the program.

The Ducks turned a 10-point halftime lead into an 18-point advantage with 12:35 to play. Richardson got a long rebound and passed ahead to Eugene Omoruyi, who went in all alone for a dunk and 75-57 Oregon lead.

Iowa was unable to recover, as Oregon extended the lead to 89-68 on a 3-pointer from Figueroa with 5:14 to play.

The Hawkeyes got as close as 14 at 91-77 following back-to-back 3-pointers from Garza, but by then the Ducks had started working the clock down on possessions.

Garza was nearly unstoppable in a high-scoring first half, scoring 22 points on 8 of 10 shooting.

His post-up spin move and free throw gave Iowa its largest lead of the half at 42-38. But Oregon responded with an 8-0 run, and after the Hawkeyes drew even at 46, a 10-0 run over the last 1:51 of the half.

The Ducks got all 56 of their points in the first half from their five starters, with 14 points from Duarte and Richardson. Oregon made 22 of 37 shots and shot 59.5 percent in its highest scoring first half of the season.

Richardson, Duarte and Figueroa combined to make 14 of 16 shots in the first 20 minutes.

Iowa shot the ball well, too, making 17 of 33 shots for 51.5 percent. But Oregon’s fast pace and active defense were effective in limiting the Hawkeyes from long range.

–Field Level Media