Iowa Forces OT Against Tennessee But Rally Falls Short
When I sat down to watch Iowa take on #2 seed Tennessee on Sunday I knew that Hawkeyes had a stiff test in front of them. The Volunteers were a deep team that at one point during the regular season had been ranked #1 in the nation. It became evident fairly quickly that this just wasn't going to be Iowa's day.
Tennessee jumped to a 25 point lead at one point during the first half. Iowa looked sluggish and unable to keep up with the athletic Volunteers. But something woke Iowa up at halftime. Perhaps it was Tyler Cook, playing in his possible Iowa finale. Cook came out in the second half on fire. He scored six quick points and led a fired up Iowa squad back from the brink. Jordan Bohannon hit big threes. Luka Garza dominated down low. Isiah Moss drove and hit big shots down the stretch. I couldn't believe what I was watching! Where was THIS Iowa team in the first half!
The Hawkeyes clawed all the way back. All the way. They tied the game and forced overtime. Down 25, the forced overtime. And in a way, I figured that was going to be Iowa's moral victory. Too much had been spent in the comeback. Tennessee pulled away for an 83-77 victory. But this was the Iowa team that we saw for a large portion of the year. Playing together. With heart and conviction. Playing for each other. Playing to stay alive.
Iowa didn't advance ot the Sweet 16 on Sunday. But they left us with one final sweet memory in 2019. They reminded us why we are proud to be HAWKEYES.