Cedar Falls Native Helps Iowa Set NCAA Tournament Record In Blowout Win
Kyle Denning's late-game shot seemed insignificant at the time, but it turns out the three-pointer helped Iowa set an NCAA Tournament record in its blowout win Friday night (March 20, 2015).
The seventh-seeded Hawkeyes advanced to the third-round of college basketball's showcase event with a one-sided 83-52 victory over No. 10-seed Davidson at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash. The 31-point win is now the largest in a 7-10 game in NCAA Tournament history. The previous margin was a 30-point victory by West Virginia over Temple in a 1998 game.
Denning's shot with 20 seconds remaining established the new NCAA standard and helped the Hawkeyes record their biggest blowout win ever in the tournament. A stand-out prep star at the now-closed N.U. High School in Cedar Falls, Denning is a senior at Iowa playing his final season of basketball. Seldom-used, he was one of the many reserves Coach Fran McCaffery put on the floor when the victory was ensured.
It was a nearly flawless performance for the Hawkeyes. They used their length to frustrate Davidson at the defensive end and the Wildcats had no answers for Iowa's superior size on offense.
Aaron White dominated the game, making 11 of 14 shots and finishing with 26 points. Mike Gesell added 15 points and Peter Jok scored 12 for the Hawkeyes (22-11).
Iowa took the game over in the second half, while blistering the nets with 57 percent shooting. The Hawkeyes went on an 18-3 run shortly after intermission, a spurt that included 13-straight points from White.
When White got hot, his team owned a nine-point lead. He scored on seven of eight Iowa possessions and talled 17 of the Hawkeyes' 22 points in a span of seven minutes. Working the post and scoring inside, he showed his explosiveness with a thunderous dunk and also hit an open three-pointer during the spurt.
The decisive run extended Iowa's 38-29 halftime lead to 62-44 with 10:47 remaining and secured the Hawkeyes' first NCAA Tournament victory since 2001.
Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge scored 14 to lead Davidson (24-8), but the Wildcats never overcame three early fouls on Tyler Kalinoski. The Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year sat on the bench the last eight minutes of the first half and had a string of 21-straight games in double figures snapped by the Hawkeyes.
Kalinoski went the final 35 minutes without scoring, and finished with five points.
NEXT UP: Iowa advances to play No. 2 Gonzaga on Sunday in Seattle.
NOTES: Coach McCaffery picked up his first NCAA victory with the Hawkeyes and his third in seven overall appearances with four different schools ... Iowa hasn't advanced to the second weekend of the tournament since 1999.