In the first NCAA Tournament game in program history, GCU fell 86-74 to Iowa on Saturday afternoon.
In the first half, the Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead before the Lopes got back into the game. Forward and former Basha product Gabe McGlothan helped keep GCU in the contest offensively with 13 points off the bench, including going 5-7 from the field.
As advertised though, the Hawkeyes were lights out on the offensive end. They shot 55.2 percent with 11 points from Joe Wieskamp. National Player of the Year candidate Luka Garza also dropped in eight points in the opening 20 minutes.
Another dilemma for the Lopes was early foul trouble with Asbjorn Mitgaard and Alessandro Lever. Then coming out of the second half, Iowa erupted. A few early three’s pushed the lead up to 17 and a GCU timeout was called in the opening minutes.
“They shot the mess out of the ball tonight and you can’t take away everything with Iowa’s offense,” said head coach Bryce Drew. “As far as our team, we are really proud of the effort we gave. We battled for 40 minutes and for GCU and their first time in the NCAA Tournament, hopefully this will give a taste in our players mouths that they are going to want to be successful and work harder.”
GCU would try to claw its way back but it was too much to overcome. Led by five different players in double-figures, and shooting the ball over 50 percent, the Hawkeyes kept on scoring and pulled away.
This year’s historic Lopes team finishes their impressive 2020-21 campaign at 17-7, and there is a very bright future ahead in the Bryce Drew era.
“It sucks that we lost but to be here with this group of guys, our coaching staff, and the brotherhood that we built, we just can’t get over than,” said point guard Jovan Blacksher, “Yeah, it sucks that we lost but to be here with these guys, it means everything.”