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The Doctor is in

Hawkeyes advance to NCAA's Sweet 16

  • Iowa rallies from 13-point second-half deficit with 16-0 run.

Register Staff Writer

Denver, Colo. - Does incredible sound right? How about unbelievable?

Both work.

So does Sweet 16.

That is next for never-say-die Iowa after an 82-72 victory Saturday against Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA West Region at McNichols Sports Arena.

The Hawkeyes advance to Phoenix, where second-ranked Connecticut is the opponent Thursday at a time to be determined. It is Iowa's first Sweet 16 since 1988, Coach Tom Davis' second season. That resulted in a 99-79 loss to Arizona.

The clock also still ticks for Davis, who was told by Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby that his contract would not be renewed after the season.

"I'm giving it my best shot,'' an exhausted Davis said afterward. "I feel I've been doing it for 13 years. I'm not even worrying about what's in the future. At the beginning of the second half, it looked like it might be over pretty quick."

It wasn't, and he has Kent McCausland, among others, to thank.

Arkansas, ranked 17th and seeded fourth, hit two quick three-point baskets to start the second half for a 47-34 lead.

What followed was the incredible and unbelievable against one of the most athletic teams Iowa has faced.

Mostly, it was McCausland, who played bombs away from the three-point line each time he saw daylight. He hit three in a row during a 16-0 run that resulted in a 50-47 Iowa lead. He hit two three-pointers to start a 12-0 run that resulted in a 71-66 lead with with 3½ minutes remaining.

"No one really told me to go out and start shooting threes," said McCausland, who had 17 points. "I just thought to myself that this is my senior year and possibly my last game. I wasn't going to bow out of this thing without at least giving it the best shot I had."

He had assistance. Jess Settles didn't score in the first half, but more than made up for it in the second with eight points. J.R. Koch had his best all-around game. Point guard Dean Oliver ran the offense and was quick on the press.

The press. . . . it resulted in 20 Arkansas turnovers, including 16 in the second half.

"That was the big turnaround," Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson said.

Both teams pressed, both teams ran and neither team was gun shy.

"It was so helter skelter in the second half that I don't think either team knew what defense they were in," Settles said.

Oliver also scored 17 points and Koch scored 12 points. Iowa won rebounding, 47-32, and made seven of its 11 three-point tries in the second half.

"The game was so fast that I think our substitution pattern helped," Oliver said. "They didn't seem to be subbing as much. All of our guards were subbing a lot; it didn't seem like their guards were doing that."

Iowa closed the game by outscoring Arkansas, 23-6.

"We knew we were a better team," Koch said. "We came out to fight."

A three-pointer by Joey Range gave Iowa a 57-53 lead with 11:21 remaining in the second half. Arkansas led, 66-59, 4 minutes later.

"We lost our composure; Iowa had a lot to do with that," Richardson said.

That advantage was followed a 12-0 run, capped by a Ryan Luehrsmann three-pointer.

"We knew it was going to be a game of runs," Settles said. "That's just the way both teams like to play. When we were down early in the second half, we knew we still had a lot of fight."

It was the result of pressure defense, rebounding, Arkansas turnovers and shooting.

"As I look back, it probably was the game," said Kareem Reid, who led Arkansas with 18 points and 11 assists. "You could see the adrenaline on their faces. They weren't going to be beaten. We lost our aggressiveness."

Aside from those, another significant play was when Koch drew a charging call against Derek Hood with 1:13 remaining.

"I didn't want to jump because as you can see, I can't really jump with him; he's got his head way up above the rim each time he dunks it,'' Koch said. "I just put my body in front of him, let him hit it, then I put my hands in the air and moaned. They called it. There was acting, but something you have to do."


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