Iowa defeats Davidson, 83-52, advances in the NCAA Tournament

Iowa shut down Davidson’s 3-point shooting, and Aaron White took over en route to Iowa’s 83-52 win over Davidson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

SEATTLE — With 8:12 left in the second half of Iowa’s 83-51 win over Davidson in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery turned to the scorers’ table just after a time-out and asked, “We’ve got another time-out in 12 seconds?”

The response from the table was a yes, to which McCaffery responded, “I’ve got nothing else to say.”

It was that dominating of a performance from the Hawkeyes. Iowa had executed its game plan to a tee, taking away Davidson’s 3-point game and taking advantage of the Hawkeyes size down low on the offensive end of the floor.

The result was an Iowa blowout, which was the Hawkeyes’ first NCAA Tournament victory since 2001.

“I want to say that I’m not sure we can play much better than we played in this game,” McCaffery said after the game. I’m really proud of our team, their focus.

“I thought defensively, I don’t know whether you can play much better than we played in this game. We were able to get our transition game going early, our execution at half court was also very good, whether we were in motion or in sets.

All week long, Iowa players had been asked how they would defend the Wildcats barrage of 3s. Davidson came into the contest shooting 39.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and averaging 79.9 points per game, sixth in the nation.

But Iowa’s defense set the tone early, holding Davidson to just 29 points in the first half, just 52 total.

Iowa’s length paved the way to missed Davidson shots, and the Wildcats finished just 6-of-28 from beyond the arc. The 21.4 percent clip from 3-point range was Davidson’s second-worst mark of the season.

“Our coaches really beat it into us,” Aaron White said. “From Selection Sunday, the next day we got a feel for [Davidson]. We’ve been watching tape ever since. We almost got sick of watching them on tape.”

Despite struggling from beyond the arc, Davidson still found itself within striking distance with 14:22 left in the game — they trailed by 9 points.

Then White took over.

Over a 3:21 stretch, White scored 13-straight points for the Hawkeyes without missing a shot. He single-handedly extended a 9-point Iowa lead to a 21-point lead.

“We kept running plays for him, and he kept scoring,” Adam Woodbury said. “Coach didn’t want to go away from him.”

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The rest of the game just delayed the inevitable, and when the buzzer sounded, White had 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting and 6 rebounds. It was his sixth-straight game with 20 or more points, the first Hawkeye to do so since 1984.

Others contributed as well. Mike Gesell chipped in 15 points; Peter Jok added 12 points, including two treys. And Adam Woodbury finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds.

As expected, Iowa dominate the rebounding battle, 46-30. It finished with 14 offensive rebounds, which led to 13 second-chance points. Iowa also turned the ball over just 5 times and finished with 12 assists.

There really wasn’t much to complain about.

“We’re a confident team,” Gesell said. “We know we can play with anybody in the country. We know we can beat anyone, as long as we execute the game plan and play up to our potential.”

This win is another step in the right direction for the McCaffery-led program. Two years ago, it was an appearance in the NIT, last year was an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and this year the Hawkeyes have at least one March Madness win under their belts.

They’re hoping for more.

“I’m just so thankful,” White said. “It was a great opportunity for us, a lot of fun. I’m ready for Sunday.”

White wasn’t alone in hoping for more nights like this.

“Not at all,” Clemmons said. “We’re just getting started.”

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