Fairfield 59

(0-4, 0-2 away)

(14) Iowa 75

(6-1, 5-0 home)

    9:11 PM ET, December 2, 2005

    Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa

    1 2 T
    FAIR 29 3059
    #14IOWA 32 4375

    Top Performers

    Fairfield: M. Van Schaick 17 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Iowa: G. Brunner 23 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Brunner leads No. 15 Iowa to easy win over Fairfield

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa withstood three Fairfield comeback tries in the final 9½ minutes to reach the final of the Hawkeye Challenge.

    Greg Brunner had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead Iowa (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 14 AP) to a 75-59 victory over Fairfield on Friday night.

    Iowa coach Steve Alford praised his team's resilience, but found plenty of room for improvement.

    The Hawkeyes (5-1) were careless with the ball, turning it over 20 times, and impatient down the stretch. They were the flaws that prevented Iowa from closing out Fairfield until late in the game.

    "This was a hard-fought game," Alford said. "We got up by 10 points, and then our shot selection was poor and we allowed them to get some open 3-pointers and get back in the game. We really need to be more patient and take care of the ball."

    Iowa advanced to the Saturday's championship game against Valparaiso, a 79-72 winner over Tulane. The victory also improved Iowa's record to 46-1 in their annual tournament.

    Brunner shot 8-of-8 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Jeff Horner scored 12 points, Adam Haluska added 11 and the Hawkeyes shot 52 percent.

    Michael Van Schaick scored a career-best 17 points for Fairfield. Jonathan Han shot 4-for-9 from 3-point range and finished with 15 points, and Michael Bell added 11.

    The Stags (0-4), undersized but persistent, kept the game close by forcing nine steals and hitting key 3-pointers.

    But Fairfield coach Tim O'Toole said the biggest difference in the game was his team's inability to muster any offense inside and hit medium-range jumpers. Despite shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line, the Stags shot just 16 percent (6-of-38) inside the arc.

    "We just couldn't get it in there and muscle with them," O'Toole said. "Unfortunately, we didn't shoot the ball well tonight."

    Three times in the final 9½ minutes the Stags got within striking distance, but the Hawkeyes stopped each comeback attempt before pulling away in the final 3 minutes.

    Iowa's miscues and missed opportunities allowed the Stags to remain in contention early in the second half. A pull-up jumper by Haluska gave Iowa a 51-40 lead at the 12:12 mark, but a long jumper by Bell and a 3-pointer by Han on the next possession cut the lead to six.

    The pattern was repeated six minutes later after Brunner hit a free throw to put Iowa up by 12, only to see the Stags hit back-to-back 3-pointers to close within 59-53 with 6:04 to go.

    A 3-pointer by Han with 3:33 left pulled Fairfield within five. A minute later, Horner stepped in front of a pass and raced down court for a layup to put Iowa back in front 67-58, and the Hawkeyes held on down the stretch.

    "You have to give Fairfield credit," Haluska said. "They played like they had a chip on their shoulder and they never gave up."

    Fairfield came into the game shooting 38 percent, but found the mark in the game's opening minutes, building a 13-7 lead on a pair of 3-pointers from Bell and Van Schaick.

    As the half progressed, the bigger, more physical Hawkeyes began to pull away. Relying on their inside game and Brunner, the Hawkeyes outscored Fairfield 17-3 during an 8-minute stretch.

    Erek Hansen's turnaround baseline jumper with 3:17 left in the half gave the Hawkeyes their biggest lead, at 28-19.

    But the Stags rallied in the final minutes and Van Schaick's buzzer-beating 3-pointer, launched 3 feet beyond the half-court line, closed the gap to 32-29 at the break. Fairfield shot 44 percent from 3-point range in the first half and made just two field goals inside the line.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 59 75
    FG Made-Attempted 18-67 (.269) 25-48 (.521)
    3P Made-Attempted 12-29 (.414) 5-18 (.278)
    FT Made-Attempted 11-15 (.733) 20-24 (.833)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 17

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 2, 2005 @IOWA 75, FAIR 59Recap