Iowa Nearly Makes NCAA Tournament History With Comeback vs. Tennessee

Iowa Hawkeyes basketball comeback record

Getty Iowa Hawkeyes

The 10-seed Iowa Hawkeyes had a bit of impressive second-half magic against the No. 2 seed Tennessee Volunteers. Unfortunately, it didn’t wind up being quite enough to pull off the major upset and put their name in the record books. But with Iowa falling into a 25-point hole early on, they rallied back and managed to tie the game up late in the second-round 2019 NCAA Tournament matchup.

During the final stretch of regulation, Tennessee had a chance to win it on a late shot but missed and the Hawkeyes grabbed the rebound with just over one second remaining. They were unable to get a timeout, so the action went to overtime. But as ESPN Stats & Info shows, the 25-point comeback would have tied the largest in tournament history.

The Volunteers grabbed control early in overtime, though, and proceeded to hold on for an 83-77 victory to advance to the Sweet 16. It ruined a historic moment for the Hawkeyes but also showed impressive resiliency by Rick Barnes’ squad to bounce back from the blown lead.

Iowa’s Huge Second Half During Comeback

While the Hawkeyes deserve praise for their effort in the comeback, it was a second half which featured them outscoring the Volunteers 43-22 which made all the difference. This comeback was fueled by a balanced and well-rounded effort, as the entire starting lineup scored in double figures.

Jordan Bohannon scored 18 points with six rebounds and shot 5-of-11 from the field while Isaiah Moss totaled 16 points with five rebounds and two steals, knocking down 3-of-5 from deep. Luke Garza (14 points), Joe Wieskamp (11 points, seven rebounds) and Tyler Cook (11 points) all chipped in to help Iowa get back in the game.

On the other side, the play of four key starters for the Volunteers made the difference in the end. Admiral Schofield poured in 19 points with five rebounds while Lamonte Turner (15 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Bone (14 points) were both clutch late. But it was Grant Williams who put together a stellar stat line with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.

Current Mark for Largest Comeback in NCAA Tournament History

While the Hawkeyes were unable to get the job done, the current record holders are the BYU Cougars who proved capable of completing the wild comeback. They did so back in 2012 during the opening round of the tournament in a first four matchup against the Iona Gaels. After falling behind by 25 in the first half, BYU rallied to earn a 78-72 win.

It was Cougars senior Noah Hartsock who led the comeback by scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half. The team trailed throughout the entire game until there was 2:26 remaining when Hartsock hit a 3-pointer. During that victory, Iona was held to just 24 percent shooting and 17 points in the second half after shooting 59 percent through the first 20 minutes. They also led BYU by 15 heading into halftime and jumped up 18 early in the second half.

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