Steve Alford figured the key to beating Louisville was for his Iowa Hawkeyes to play hard and smart. He was correct.
Pierre Pierce made the first of two free throws with 9.2 seconds left in overtime Saturday to lead Iowa to a 70-69 victory over No. 17 Louisville in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
“We knew we probably wouldn’t make more threes than them, so I thought the two areas we could beat them in were on the boards and at the free-throw line,” Alford said.
The Hawkeyes (3-0) attained one of Alford’s goals, holding a 45-27 advantage in rebounds, and, ironically, won from the free-throw line, where they had struggled, making only 13 of 24 attempts.
But for Alford, it was what he had hoped for.
The Hawkeyes fought hard, took advantage of the Cardinals’ mistakes, and took care of the ball better than they had in their previous two games -- even against Louisville’s tight pressure defense.
And with their leading scorer, Pierce, on the bench for almost nine minutes in the second half, they relied on other scorers.
Greg Brunner scored 26 points and gave Iowa a strong inside presence in place of the injured Glen Worley.
Pierce finished with eight points, five assists and six rebounds, while Brody Boyd made four three-point shots and finished with 22 points.
“We worked on being poised all week,” Boyd said. “When you have poise and confidence, you’re going to win games.”
Louisville, which was one of the last three Division I schools to open play Saturday, looked as if it was playing its season-opener.
The Cardinals shot only 40.4% from the field and made nearly as many three-pointers (11) as they did two-pointers (12).
No. 2 Duke 76, Wright State 47 -- The Blue Devils (3-0) broke open a close game with a 14-4 run at the start of the second half in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout on Friday night in Anchorage.
Duke, which played Purdue for the tournament title late Saturday night, held Liberty (1-3) to 13 second-half points until less than five minutes remained.
The Flames were hurt by 14 turnovers, five blocked shots and a shooting percentage of 26%.
No. 3 Michigan State 77, Pennsylvania 52 -- Shannon Brown showed off some fancy moves on his 18th birthday. The freshman had three spectacular dunks and finished with 12 points to help the Spartans (2-1) overcome a slow start and routed the overmatched Quakers (1-2) in the first game of the Spartan Classic at East Lansing.
It was the schools’ first meeting in 25 seasons, when the Spartans beat Penn, 101-67, in a Final Four semifinal at Salt Lake City.
No. 5 Missouri 90, Oakland, Mich. 85 -- Jimmy McKenney and Rickey Paulding each scored 21 points to lead the Tigers to a difficult season-opening win over the Golden Grizzlies (2-4) at Rochester, Mich.
No. 9 North Carolina 82, Cleveland State 76 -- Jawad Williams made a key three-point basket with 1:27 left and the Tar Heels (3-0) survived a scare at Cleveland. The basket helped them overcome a four-point deficit by scoring the game’s final 10 points.
The Vikings (1-2), who won only eight games last season, fell to 1-22 against top 25 teams.
No. 11 Texas 94, Centenary 59 -- The Longhorns (3-0) led only 42-33 at the half in Austin, but James Thomas scored six straight points to open the second half and start a 25-9 run. Rickey Evans led Centenary (1-2) with 17 points, but no other player scored in double figures. Centenary shot 34% in the second half (11 of 32).
No. 12 Illinois 75, Temple 60 -- The Illini (3-0) opened the game at Philadelphia on an 18-5 run, keyed by four three-point baskets. They broke Temple’s two-three zone by making almost all their baskets from the outside.
Roger Powell had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Deron Williams scored 18 points to lead Illinois. It was the second straight lackluster effort for the Owls (0-2), who were coming off a 25-point loss to undermanned Villanova.
No. 13 St. Joseph’s 75, Old Dominion 72 -- Jameer Nelson made a half-court shot with less than 10 seconds left to give the Hawks (4-0) the win at Norfolk, Va.
A steal by Troy Nance and a layup by Isaiah Hunter with 20 seconds left capped a 15-4 run to pull the Monarchs (0-2) to within 72-70.
After Nelson’s basket, Hunter made an off-balance jumper in the lane with 1.7 seconds left to pull Old Dominion within three, but St. Joseph’s inbounded the ball and time ran out.
No. 15 Wisconsin 55, Rutgers 43 -- The Badgers (3-0) won their 15th consecutive home game despite making only three of 20 three-point shots, Instead, they used an excellent performance at the free-throw line to beat the Scarlet Knights (2-1). They made 18 of 22 free throws.
Devin Harris epitomized the Badgers’ night by missing all five of his three-point attempts but making eight of nine from the line. He scored 18 points.
No. 18 Wake Forest 86, Yale 61 -- Jamal Levy led four players in double figures with 19 points as the Demon Deacons won easily at the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn.
Wake Forest, off to a 3-0 start for the fifth straight year, had 11 steals and forced 20 turnovers. Justin Gray had 15 points, Eric Williams 12 and Vytas Danelius 10 for the Demon Deacons, who made 33 of 66 shots.
No. 19 Cincinnati 76, Coppin State 56 -- Field Williams matched his career high with 24 points -- making eight of 10 three-point baskets -- and the Bearcats stopped the Eagles with their trapping defense at Cincinnati.
Cincinnati (3-0) forced 29 turnovers that set up 30 points. Coppin State is 1-22 overall against ranked teams, the lone victory an upset of South Carolina in the first round of the 1997 NCAA tournament.
No. 21 Notre Dame 78, Mount St. Mary’s, Md. 64 -- The win at South Bend, Ind., gave the Irish a 15-1 November record in four seasons under Coach Mike Brey, while Mount St. Mary’s (0-5) has lost eight straight road games dating to last season. The Irish (2-0) fell behind, 8-2, but used an 11-0 run to pull ahead for good five minutes into the game.
Indiana 80, Xavier 77 -- Bracey Wright’s three-point play with 35.3 seconds left in overtime gave the Hoosiers (2-1) the win at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Xavier led, 67-64, when Wright made a three-point play with 16.6 seconds left in regulation. The Musketeers (3-2) had a chance to win, but Lionel Chalmers’ 12-foot shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Wright, who scored eight of his 27 points in overtime, made a layup and drew a foul. His free throw gave the Hoosiers a 78-77 lead.
Donald Perry made two free throws with 11.6 seconds left for the final score.
Maryland 87, Hofstra 72 -- After going 11 for 20 at the foul line in their first two games, the Terrapins (3-0) made 21 free throws in the first half and finished 31 for 55 at the free-throw line at College Park, Md.
The Pride (1-3) was called for 37 fouls and had six players foul out.
Nevada Las Vegas 59, California 57 -- The Rebels (3-1) held off a second-half rally to beat the Bears (1-2) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. They led, 51-31, with 14 minutes left, but slowly saw the lead disappear.
Ayinde Ubaka missed a three-pointer from the top of the key and Amit Tamir missed a three-pointer at the buzzer for California, either of which would have won the game.
Washington 104, Eastern Washington 91 -- The Huskies used a late 19-4 run to take control of the game at Seattle and open the season with three straight wins for the first time since the 1998-99 season. It’s also the first time they scored at least 100 points since Jan. 29, 1998.