At halftime of Sunday’s first second-round game, Tennessee led Iowa 49-28. It had all the makings of yet another blowout.
Saturday, only two of the eight second-round games were within even 10 points. The other six had an average margin of 19.2 points.
And then the Hawkeyes opened the second half on a 16-4 run, followed shortly thereafter by a 10-0 run, and suddenly, with 2:39 left in regulation, after Jordan Bohannon made three free throws, the game was tied.
It went back and forth from there, with Joe Wieskamp making two free throws to draw even at 71 with 20 seconds left, and Tennessee’s Jordan Bone missing a 3-pointer with five seconds left.
The end result? Iowa outscoring Tennessee 43-22 in the final 20 minutes of regulation to force the first overtime of the 2019 NCAA tournament.
In the end, Tennessee would run away in extra time for the 83-77 win, but what a comeback it was. If Iowa had won, it would have tied the record for the biggest comeback win in NCAA tournament history. In 2012, BYU rallied to shock Iona after trailing by 25 in the First Four.
In that overtime period, Tennessee’s Grant Williams scored six points, picked up an assist, and got a crucial steal with 1:04 left to lead the Volunteers to the Sweet 16. He and Admiral Schofield both finished with 19 points.
For Iowa, Bohannon had 18 (on 3-for-7 shooting from deep), and Isaiah Moss put up 16.
The win sent Tennessee to the Sweet 16, one year after losing in the second round to last year’s Cinderella, Loyola Chicago.
There, they’ll face 3-seed Purdue, which beat Old Dominion and Villanova so far.