Midwest: No. 9 Auburn holds off No. 8 Iowa

Johni Broome recorded a double-double, and No. 9 seed Auburn held off a late comeback bid to pull off an 83-75 victory over No. 8 Iowa in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday night in a first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament’s Midwest Region.

Broome finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for the Tigers (21-12), who will face top seed Houston or 16th-seeded Northern Kentucky in the second round. Wendell Green Jr. chipped in 15 points, while Tre Donaldson, K.D. Johnson and Jaylin Williams tallied 11 apiece.

The Tigers opened up a 12-point advantage at the 12:24 mark of the second half after a 3-point barrage that featured five treys during a 3:41 span. The lead soon grew to 17 when Donaldson drained a triple and Allen Flanigan made a layup.

Iowa didn’t waver, though, and Kris Murray knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and had a ferocious dunk during a 19-6 run to make it a four-point game, 64-60, with 5:07 remaining.

But Auburn went back up 10 with 1:19 remaining thanks to a Williams fastbreak dunk, and it held on from there.

Payton Sandfort finished with a game-high 21 points for the Hawkeyes (19-14). Murray contributed 15 points and nine rebounds, and Filip Rebraca notched 14 points.

Transition offense made the difference, as Iowa was outscored 26-8 on the fastbreak.

Neither team led by more than four through the opening 10 minutes of the game, but Auburn ripped off a 9-0 spurt that included four points from Broome to go up 21-12 with eight minutes left in the first half.

The Hawkeyes pulled within three on four occasions to close the period before the Tigers settled for a 31-26 edge at the break. Broome (eight points and Flanigan (six) led Auburn, while Rebraca led all first-half scorers with 10 points.

Both teams struggled mightily from beyond the arc, combining to go just 1-for-18 (5.6 percent).

–Field Level Media