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Iowa Rallies Past Razorbacks

Kent McCausland is known to practice his outside shot until his fingers bleed. On Saturday, his feathery jumper took the life out of Arkansas and reduced his coach to joyous tears.

McCausland hit five second-half 3-pointers and Iowa adapted its half-court game to match high-paced Arkansas, outlasting the Razorbacks 82-72 Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

"I think everybody was looking for him," Iowa's Jess Settles said of McCausland. "It seemed like he hit three or four in a row, and it gave us new life because we were on the brink."

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  • McCausland and Dean Oliver each finished with 17 points as the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes (20-9) overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to advance to the round of 16 for the third time under departing coach Tom Davis.

    Despite winning 66 percent of his games (269-139) in 13 seasons with Iowa, Davis learned last spring that his contract would not be renewed. After the final buzzer, a misty-eyed Davis stood at midcourt with the game ball as hundreds of jubilant Hawkeyes fans chanted his name.

    "It's so deep, I don't know if I can do it justice," Davis said when asked to describe his feelings. "The bigger questions I'll try to answer when this is over, and it can be over at any moment. It was almost over today."

    Chris Walker scored a career-high 22 points and Kareem Reid had 18 points and 11 assists for No. 4 seed Arkansas (23-11), which blew leads of 47-34 and 66-59. The Razorbacks were outscored 23-6 over the final 7:20 as Iowa turned the tables with a surprisingly effective full-court press.

    "We got our (13-2) run and then we lost everything," Reid said. "We lost our aggressiveness and they took the ball from us three straight times. Their press really bothered us."

    Reid's first 3-pointer of the game put Aransas ahead by seven before McCausland hit back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a 12-0 run that gave Iowa the lead for good, 71-66, with 4:35 remaining.

    "I said to myself, `I am not going to go out my senior year and not throw up some shots to at least get us back in the game,"' McCausland said. "I knocked down one and felt like I could make the rest."

    Oliver, harassed all day by Arkansas' pressure defense, capped the decisive run with a length-of-the-court behind-the-back pass that led to a dunk by Settles. Oliver finished with four assists and only two turnovers.

    "You have to attack, but you have to attack under control," Oliver said. "That is what we tried to do, and we did it better in the second half."

    Arkansas pulled to 73-72 on Reid's 3-pointer with 2:26 left, but J.R. Koch tipped in a missed shot for Iowa, and the Razorbacks misfired on their final three possessions, setting off an emotional celebration for Davis and the Hawkeyes.

    Iowa, which outrebounded Arkansas 47-32 to offset 24 turnovers, will play top-seeded Connecticut (30-2) in the West Regional semifinal in Phoenix.

    The Razorbacks were denied their seventh trip to the Sweet 16 this decade, committing 23 turnovers and hitting just 12 of 37 shots from 3-point range.

    Arkansas threatened to break the game open after halftime, hitting consecutive 3-pointers out of the break to lead by 13 with 18:31 left.

    Iowa called a timeout, and McCausland responded with three straight 3-pointers to ignite the 16-0 run that put the Hawkeyes ahead 50-47 just three minutes later.

    Shuttling players in and out of the high-paced game, the Razorbacks regrouped, trading baskets with the Hawkeyes before going on a 13-2 run capped by Walker's steal and breakaway dunk.

    "Creep was the best player on the floor for us today," Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, referring to Walker by his nickname. "He was the guy who kept us close enough to have a chance to win."

    McCausland, who led the nation in 3-point percentage (52 percent) in 1996-97, led Iowa back again with consecutive 3-pointers, and the Hawkeyes never trailed again after Ryan Luerhsmann hit a 3 and Oliver corralled a long rebound and found Settles on a breakaway to give Iowa a five-point lead.

    Scrambling, attacking, stealing and running, Arkansas outscored the Hawkeyes 31-15 over the final 9:31 of the first half to take a 41-34 lead at the break.

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