Iowa isn't ready to bid farewell to coach Tom Davis or the NCAA tournament.
The No. 5 seeded Hawkeyes (19-9) hit 10 of their first 12 3-point shots and extended Davis' career at Iowa for at least one more game with a 77-64 win over Alabama-Birmingham in Thursday's first round of the West Regional.
Davis, who has led the Hawkeyes to nine NCAA tournaments in 13 seasons and will leave as the school's all-time winningest coach, was told last year his contract would not be renewed after this season.
"There are so many factors why we want to keep it going," said senior forward Jess Settles, who led the Iowa scoring with 17 points. "Coach wants us to win for the school, for ourselves. We want to win for him, the school. This team has so many story lines as far as why we want to win."
The emotionally-charged Hawkeyes hit one 3-pointer after another in the game's first 13 minutes, then rode the scoring of Settles, ailing guard Dean Oliver and Kent McCausland to its ninth straight first-round win.
Even Davis, whose record at Iowa now stands at 268-139, was impressed by the Hawkeyes' 3-point proficiency. They finished with 12, a school record for an NCAA tournament game.
"We hadn't been shooting the three very well," Davis said. "These guys were just very motivated to play. They knocked them down. What was important was they had the confidence to take them. They didn't shy away from taking the tough shot in tough situations."
Oliver shook off the effects of a virus he has battled all week to score 15 points and hand out six assists in 19 minutes. McCausland scored 13 and he and Settles combined for six 3s.
UAB (20-12) led only once, at 2-0, but the No. 12-seeded Blazers made several runs in the second half behind the scoring of Fred Williams and DeWayne Brown. Williams inished with 26 points and 14 rebounds and Brown scored 16.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Damon Cobb within a 27-second span got UAB within 54-53 with 7:44 left. The teams traded baskets over the next 3½ minutes and UAB was still down just 65-61 with 4:13 remaining.
Iowa then broke it open on a 3-pointer by Settles and a steal and 3-point play by Oliver that made it 71-61 with 3:43 remaining.
"We kept cutting it and cutting it and we just couldn't get over the hump in the second half," said UAB coach Murry Bartow.
UAB had its chances, but just couldn't come up with enough big plays.
| Iowa's Kent McCausland gets fouled by Torrey Ward. (AP)|
"At those critical times when we cut it to one, we would have a mental error, a turnover or miss a shot and they would come back and capitalize," Cobb said.
"At crunch time, we needed defensive stops and we couldn't get them," said Williams.
Iowa, which averaged less than six 3-pointers a game during the season, had 10 by halftime from seven different players. The Hawkeyes' only shooting problems in the first 20 minutes were from inside the arc, where they were 3-for-11.
Still, UAB hung close behind Williams' 17 first half points. Williams scored 15 of the Blazers' first 20 points, but got just a pair of free throws over the final 11 minutes of the first half. He seemed fatigued in the second half and finished with an 11-for-25 shooting day.
UAB lost in the first round for the fourth straight time.
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