The Big Ten tournament champion is out of the men’s NCAA tournament.
No. 12 Richmond knocked out No. 5 Iowa with a 67-63 win Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Midwest region. The Spiders’ Nathan Cayo had two huge buckets in the paint in the final 90 seconds of the game while Richmond got a little help on a no-call by referees on a missed three by Iowa’s Kris Murray.
Murray attempted a three with a minute left and the Hawkeyes trailing, 60-57. He was clearly hit on the arm by Richmond’s Matt Grace but no whistle was blown. Here’s how bad the blown call was.
Richmond caught the rebound after Murray’s shot failed to hit the rim and Cayo scored and got crowded to give the Spiders a six-point lead they would never relinquish, though there was still some drama before the final buzzer.
Iowa immediately stole the inbounds pass and got a basket after cutting the lead to four with under 30 seconds left. Richmond point guard Jacob Gilyard swished both of his free throws with 15 seconds to go, however, and put the Spiders back up two possessions. Iowa never had a chance to get a potential game-tying basket as Gilyard made two more free throws with five seconds to go.
Nearly 10% of entries in Yahoo Tourney Pick’Em had the Hawkeyes heading to the Final Four despite their status as a No. 5 seed while just over 11% of brackets had the Spiders pulling the upset on Thursday. The Atlantic-10 champions made it into the tournament with an upset over Davidson in the A-10 championship game and were 10.5-point underdogs before tipoff on Thursday.
Richmond’s win is the ninth for the school as a No. 12 seed or worse in the NCAA tournament since the tournament was seeded in 1979. No other team has more than four wins as a low seed in that timeframe.
The loss also continues an ignominious streak for Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. His teams have made 11 NCAA tournaments and have never made the Sweet 16. Iowa was one of the highest-scoring teams over the course of the season and averaged 84 points per game. But Richmond controlled the tempo throughout the game and locked down Iowa’s shooters.
The Hawkeyes were just 6-of-29 from behind the 3-point line and Keegan Murray and Patrick McCaffery had 15 of the team’s 24 made field goals. The four players who came off the bench for the Hawkeyes shot a combined 3-for-16 from the field.
Gilyard’s free throws, meanwhile, capped a fantastic performance from the senior point guard. He had 24 points to lead all scorers and had six rebounds and six assists. The Spiders will play Providence on Saturday in the second round after the No. 4 Friars beat No. 13 South Dakota State earlier Thursday afternoon.