BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – When it comes to Auburn and the NCAA Tournament, the Tigers know how to make an opening statement.
Johni Broome had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and No. 9 seed Auburn beat Iowa 83-75 on Thursday for its 10th consecutive opening-round win dating to the mid-1980s.
The Tigers (21-12) made 11 of 12 free throws over the final four minutes to lock up a second-round matchup with No. 1 seed Houston or Northern Kentucky.
It was a decidedly Auburn-oriented crowd two hours from campus.
“They were loud and rowdy the whole game,” Auburn guard Allen Flanigan said. “It felt like a home game for us.”
Broome even made his ninth 3-pointer of the season to push the margin into double digits for the first time with 16 minutes left.
The Tigers appeared poised to pull away in front of a partisan orange-and-blue crowd, going up by 17 with a 13-2 run midway through the second half sparked by Tre Donaldson’s three 3-pointers off the bench.
The eighth-seeded Hawkeyes climbed back into it, twice cutting it down to four but coming no closer.
“We knew they had another run in them,” Broome said. “We were like, ’Let’s make a stop and win this game.’”
Auburn had six players score in double figures. Wendell Green Jr. had 15 points, and Donaldson, Jaylin Williams and KD Johnson each finished with 11. Allen Flanigan scored 10.
Payton Sandford scored 21 points for Iowa. Kris Murray had 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting and nine rebounds. Filip Rebraca scored 14 points.
The Hawkeyes found themselves playing in essentially a road game. But they declined to use that as an excuse.
“We’re used to playing in hostile environments,” Connor McCaffery said. “Obviously if we had our choice we would have preferred it to be a little more neutral, but that’s not why we lost at all.
“We won at Rutgers, we won at IU (Indiana) and those places are 100 times louder than it was here today.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, Connor’s father, echoed that sentiment after his…
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Author : NBC Sports
Publish date : 2023-03-17 02:49:23
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