WRITTEN BY TOM HANSLIN @tomhanslin
BROOKLYN– Iowa forward Adam Woodbury had only eight points in 32 minutes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday afternoon, but in the final seconds of overtime, Woodbury’s putback off of a missed baseline jumper went through the cylinder at the buzzer, lifting the Hawkeyes over Temple, 72-70 in overtime at the Barclays Center.
The jumper, which was missed wide left by Mike Gesell, was controversially rebounded over Owls’ Obi Enechionyia by Woodbury, with video evidence suggesting that Woodbury pushed off underneath the basket. Officials did not blow the whistle during the play, and did not review it afterwards.
“The shot went up, I felt someone on my back, and then the ball was in the hoop,” said Enechionyia, who admitted to feeling contact by Woodbury. “I could’ve boxed out a little bit better.”
Woodbury’s late heroics was one of several clutch moments from both the Hawkeyes and Owls in 45 minutes of action. With Temple trailing by three in the closing seconds of regulation, 63-60, senior guard Quenton DeCosey was fouled on a three-point jumper from the left wing, and was awarded three shots and a chance to send the game into overtime.
With DeCosey’s collegiate career in the balance, he would make the first two shots, until Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery called timeout to ice DeCosey. After the timeout, DeCosey kept the ice in his veins, draining the third basket to extend the game.
“The only thing I was thinking was just let me take my time,” said DeCosey, who led all scorers with 26 points. “Make the first one, then make the second one, then make the last one. And just hold my follow through.”
After an exchange of buckets in the first four minutes of overtime, the Hawkeyes led by two, 70-68, but Owls’ guard Josh Brown would quickly respond with a layup, knotting the game at 70 apiece with 54 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing possession, Gesell missed a three-pointer, which was rebounded by Owls’ forward Daniel Dingle, who was playing with an injured right wrist. As Dingle came down with the ball, he was fouled by Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff, which forced Dingle to the free throw line for one-and-one.
With Dingle unable to place pressure on his right hand, he elected to shoot the ball with his left, and missed off of the front rim to hand Iowa the final possession. In transition, Gesell held the ball for 20 seconds, until putting up a jump shot that would ultimately be assisted by Woodbury to help seize the day.
“Coach always tells me get on the glass every possession. So I knew that, if he got it — if Mike got a good look at it and it was a little long, I’d be able to get the offensive rebound,” said Woodbury. “I was fortunate enough to put it in, and just one of those right place, right time kind of deals, and happy we got it in.”
Regulation time was a tale of two halves, as both Iowa and Temple ignited offensive surges in the first half, combining for a field goal percentage of 47-percent, drilling nine three-pointers as the Hawkeyes held a 35-34 halftime lead. The second half was one and the same, beginning with another sluggish start for Temple who did not rally until midway through.
With the deficit cut to eight at the five minute mark, it appeared that Iowa would hang on, but seven clutch points from DeCosey would rally the Owls back into battle, shocking the Hawkeyes players, but not coach McCaffery.
“They’re a team that, if you watch them, which we have obviously the last three days, they come back,” said McCaffery. “That’s what they do. That’s what Fran Dunphy’s teams do. So you’ve got to keep coming back yourselves, and that’s why I’m so proud of our guys.”
Iowa senior forward Jarrod Uthoff led his team with 23 points and five rebounds in 43 minutes, while guard Peter Jok tallied 16 points and seven boards.
While Temple did out-rebound Iowa 49-38, the difference in the contest was discipline with the basketball, as the Owls conceded 10 total turnovers compared to Iowa’s three, a statistic that was uncharacteristic to Temple’s style of play.
“Typically, we take better care of the ball than we did today,” said Owls’ head coach Fran Dunphy. “We made sort of an uphill pass for an easy layup for them early in that second half, which hurt us. It got them back out to ten points. But if you had said that to me, I would have thought that we would have been in much worse shape.”
While DeCosey put on a shooting display, forward Jaylen Bond complemented his teammate’s efforts, earning a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
“We just had to play harder on defense, you know, just keep guys out of the lane, just focus on our matchups,” said Bond. “You know, they just beat us to the ball. They were able to get an offensive rebound and the tip in won the game.”
With DeCosey, Bond, Devin Coleman, and Devonate Watson as Temple’s seniors, four collegiate careers came to a heartbreaking finish, but junior guard Josh Brown quietly stood out among the rest, scoring 16 points with nine rebounds and five assists. Brown was also the only player to see all 45 minutes on the floor.
“We battled. We’re a resilient group,” said Brown, who will become the team’s senior leader next season. “We’ve been battle-tested all year and we never gave up.”
For Dunphy, the inevitable loss of his four senior leaders showed more hurt than the team’s gut-wrenching elimination.
“Obviously, I feel for the seniors, tough game to go out on,” said Dunphy. “They’re just wonderful guys, and they took good care of me in their time frame at Temple University. Every game is tough to go out on whenever you lose. Obviously, a buzzer beater is even more difficult. We had our chances, and, again, credit to Iowa.”
With the victory, Iowa advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region, and will face Villanova on Sunday at noon in Brooklyn for a trip to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1999.
If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.