Goodbye, Iowa: Richmond's experience too much as Spiders upset Hawkeyes in first round
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Jacob Gilyard scored 24 points, Tyler Burton added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 12 seed Richmond leaned on its experience to hold off Big Ten tournament champ Iowa 67-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.
Nathan Cayo also had 15 points, including a couple of big baskets down the stretch, as the Atlantic 10 Tournament champs improved their NCAA tourney record against fifth-seeded teams to 4-0. The Spiders (24-12) will face the Midwest region's No. 4 seed, Providence, after the Friars defeated South Dakota State earlier in the day.
Keegan Murray scored 21 points and Patrick McCaffery added 18 for the Hawkeyes (26-10), who were unable to carry over the momentum of winning four times in four days at the Big Ten tournament last weekend. In winning the title with a 75-66 win over Purdue on Sunday, Iowa set conference tournament records with 123 field goals and 351 points.
The Hawkeye's fourth-best offense nationally, which entered the NCAA Tournament averaging 83.8 points, was held to its third-lowest total of the year and worst production since a 48-46 loss at Rutgers on Jan. 19.
The Spiders are making their 10th tournament appearance and first since 2011, when they reached the Sweet 16 as -- you guessed it -- the No. 12 seed. They reached the Sweet 16 that year before losing to Kansas.
Led by sixth-year senior Grant Golden, Richmond's 20-player roster is made up of five fifth-year graduate seniors -- Gilyard is one of them -- and three fourth-year seniors. And that experience showed down the stretch, when Gilyard sealed the win by hitting all four of his free-throw attempts in the final 16 seconds.
After the teams traded the lead seven times, the Spiders never trailed after Golden laid in an inbounds pass from Gilyard to put Richmond ahead 40-39 with 14:33 remaining. It was Golden's first basket after missing his first nine attempts.
Iowa took issue with what could well have been a missed foul call when Richmond's Matt Grace appeared to foul Kris Murray on a 3-point attempt with about a minute remaining and the Spiders up 60-57. Grace was credited with a block on the play, but replays showed he clearly hit Murray's elbow. Cayo then completed a three-point play at the other end.
Iowa went 1 of 13 from beyond the 3-point arc in a cold-shooting first half in which the teams combined 3 of 22; the Hawks finished 6 of 29 from beyond the arc. The first half featured six lead changes with neither team leading by more than four.
Iowa has had a couple of rough stays at the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes, the fourth team to win four games in four days at the Big Ten tourney, were the No. 2 seed last year when national player of the year Luka Garza and the Hawkeyes were eliminated by Oregon in the second round.
Richmond's six graduate seniors -- including two walk-ons -- elected to return for their COVID-19 eligible season two years after Richmond's tournament hopes were dashed when the pandemic canceled the 2020 tournament. The Spiders were 24-7 that year but went 14-9 and missed the tourney last season.
Richmond advances to a second-round game Saturday against Providence.