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Grand Canyon falls to Iowa in first NCAA Tournament appearance

The Havocs couldn’t spur on the team on the court.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Grand Canyon at Iowa Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Grand Canyon contingent in Indiana Farmers Coliseum dealt with nerves in different ways on Saturday night. The Havocs were loose, dancing, and ready to go. But, more importantly, the Lopes basketball team came out tight and cold.

The CBS broadcast loved the show the Havocs put on, as the Phoenix-based school brought 250 students from its famed student section — the Havocs — to watch the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament game. Unfortunately, those Havocs did not have much to dance or cheer about, as the GCU fell to Iowa, 86-74.

The Hawkeyes jumped out to an 11-2 kead to begin the game, as Luka Garza hit his first two three’s and Lopes looked intimidated on offense. However the interjection of Gabe McGlothan gave the Lopes 13 points off the bench and his early work got the Lopes back in the game.

GCU got Garza into foul trouble and forced the Big Ten star to the bench for 7 minutes, but Iowa’s other guys stepped up. It looked like GCU would make a run cutting Iowa’s lead to within five at one point in the first half, but Iowa responded with a flurry of shots to balloon the lead to 11 by halftime.

Even with the Havocs energy, GCU could not make a second half run. Iowa never grew cold shooting around 50 percent from three (9-18 ). Garza dominated inside scoring 24 points, while also hitting 4-5 from distance overall.

The Lopes really struggled defending the Hawkeyes transition offense. Iowa had their share of layups and open looks from three. After just five points in the first, Alessandro Lever got hot late (13 points), but it wasn’t enough to get the Lopes in a competitive position. Asbjorn Midtgaard added 18 points and six rebounds, while Jovan Blacksher scored 15 points and handed out seven assists.

Bryce Drew was not able to manufacture a historic upset in his home state of Indiana. Iowa will play Oregon in the second round on Monday after Oregon advanced due to a no contest.