Northwestern State Knocks Off Iowa in First Round

Northwestern St. 64, Iowa 63


March 17, 2006

 

 

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Stuck in the corner with time running out, all Jermaine Wallace could do was heave the ball and hope.

Swish!

Wallace hit a fadeaway 3-pointer with a split second left, and little Northwestern State pulled off a shocker with a furious rally, beating Iowa 64-63 Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Down by 17 with 8 1/2 minutes left, the 14th-seeded Demons from Natchitoches, La., stormed back to down the Big Ten tournament champions.

After Wallace made the shot that will be shown for years, he tore off his jersey - a la Brandi Chastain - as his teammates hollered and hugged all over the court.

Hawkeyes star Greg Brunner made one of two foul shots with 14.6 seconds left for a 63-61 lead. The Demons came down court, missed a shot and Wallace corralled the rebound.

Wallace turned and, as he falling out of bounds, scored with five-tenths of a second left.

Under the net where Wallace's shot cleanly fell, Brunner was on his back with his jersey pulled over his face. Iowa was a third seed, and finished No. 15 in the final regular-season national rankings.

Northwestern State (26-7) went into the game cocky because of previous results against schools from major conferences.

The Southland Conference champs won at Mississippi State and Oklahoma State and beat Oregon State on a neutral court during the regular season. They also were competitive in losses to NCAA tournament teams Wichita State, Texas A&M and Utah State.

The Demons are in the NCAA tournament for just the second time. In 2001, the Demons won a play-in game to get into the field of 64.

It was an all-too familiar feeling for Iowa coach Steve Alford, who lost a 3-14 matchup in the NCAA tournament while playing for Indiana against Cleveland State in 1986.

Alford claimed he didn't remember much about that game as a player, but he won't be able to forget this one as a coach.

In the NCAA tournament last year, the 10th-seeded Hawkeyes lost to Cincinnati in the first round.

Northwestern State trailed by 14 early. Fittingly, in the home of the NBA's Detroit Pistons, a player with a Ben Wallace-like Afro brought the Demons back.

Clifton Lee made four 3-pointers and a long jumper to pull Northwestern State within three twice, then Jermaine Spencer scored in the lane to make it 60-59 with about a minute left.

Brunner was fouled on a drive in the lane. He made the first and after a timeout, the 70-percent free throw shooter missed the second.

Demon Kerwin Forges missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession with about six seconds left and Wallace prevented the bouncing ball from going out of bounds, pivoted and sank the game-winning shot.

Lee finished with 18 points, Luke Rogers had 11 and Wallace added 10.

Iowa's Adam Haluska scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half, Brunner had all of his 16 after halftime and Jeff Horner scored 11.

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