Balanced scoring, tough defense and excellent rebounding carried Iowa to a 77-69 upset of No. 13 Oregon Thursday night in the second semifinal of the 2K Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Jordan Bohannon paced the Hawkeyes (3-0), who will meet Connecticut on Friday night for the tournament title, with 16 points, hitting 9-of-10 foul shots.
Luka Garza added 12, and Ryan Kriener came off the bench to score 11 points. Four other players chipped in seven to nine points each.
The Ducks (2-1) got a game-high 25 points from Ehab Amin and 14 from 7-foot-2 freshman Bol Bol, the son of former NBA center Manute Bol. Victor Bailey added 12 points off the bench, but Oregon made just 37.1 percent of its field goal attempts and was outrebounded 46-34.
Iowa also converted 27-of-29 from the free throw line in the second half. The Hawkeyes made just one field goal in the final 12:15, Garza’s 3-pointer off a Bohannon feed with 3:36 left that upped its lead to 66-55.
The Hawkeyes won despite hitting just 35.2 percent from the field, but were able to sink 10-of-28 from the 3-point line.
Iowa set an immediate tone by scoring the first eight points. Tyler Cook started the run with a layup and ended it with a foul shot just over 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
The Hawkeyes pushed the lead to 21-9 when Nicholas Baer sank a 3-pointer off a Connor McCaffery feed with 12:32 left in the half.
Amin drilled two free throws to cap a 13-5 spurt that drew the Ducks within 26-22 at the 7:24 mark, but Iowa answered back with a 13-2 run, Maishe Dailey’s 3-ball making it 39-24 with 1:53 remaining.
Ahead 39-28 at the half, the Hawkeyes never let the game get closer than seven points in the final 20 minutes.
—Field Level Media