LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA---Cheerleaders, mascots, and a band? Let's just say the HP Field House was rocking tonight when the Iowa Hawkeyes and Dayton Flyers took to the hardwood eyeing the final spot in the semi-finals.
As their name indicates, Dayton is a team of high-flying rim rockers. However, with a 6-0 early lead and a 2-on-1 fast break, Charles Cooke III killed momentum by throwing an uncontrollable lob to Scoochie Smith who was out-of-bounds when finally gaining control. It turned out the following was all the Hawkeyes needed to dig out of their early hole with a red-hot Jarrod Uthoff.
Uthoff, who entered the tournament as Iowa's leading scorer, quickly grabbed his team their first lead of the game (10-9) with 8 of his team-high 16 points.
Following his second three pointer, the tempo of the match sped up drastically and the two squads traded blows for the next seven minutes until the Flyers flew ahead thanks to a 7-0 run (35-28 UD). Although the Hawkeyes didn't finish the half scoreless, they only dented the deficit slightly heading into recess (45-39 UD).
Almost a replication of the first half, Dayton jumped on Iowa, this time with an 8-0 run, provoking Hawkeyes' head coach Fran McCafferey to burn a timeout down a game-high 13 points.
Although McCafferey's group's played much better out of the 30 second reprieve, Iowa was unable to draw any closer for the next seven minutes. The Flyers were looking unstoppable! Or that was until Brady Ellington and Uthoff knocked down back-to-back treys to draw within six. But that's not all! A little over a minute later, the Flyers' momentum was drained with the fourth foul on leading scorer Charles Cooke III, meaning he would have to go to the bench. The time was right for the Hawkeyes and Peter Jok knew it as he continued what would be a 13-0 run to not only tie the game but take the lead for Iowa.
The "Red Scare" was stunned! How could a double-digit lead evaporate so quick before their very eyes?
Down three, Dayton junior Kendall Pollard broke the five plus minute scoring drought with a layup. Then, with the Flyers' faithful on their feet, Iowa senior Mike Gesell finally knocked down his first shot of the night, a three pointer, to up the lead to four. Yet, Dayton didn't waiver as Cooke nailed a trey of his own before Smith re-acquired the lead with a layup.
After Iowa's Adam Woodbury and Dayton's Cooke III traded two made free throws, Schoochie Smith drove the lane and finished a layup with 13 minutes remaining. Down three, Peter Jok attempted a trey for the tie. Clank! Smith came down with the defensive rebound and made the two impending shots at the charity stripe to seal the game and a date with Monmouth in the semi-finals.
Credit To The Cooke
When needing points to stay within reach, "jazzy junior" Charles Cooke III put his time on his back and took them to the promised land. After scoring eight points in the first twenty minutes, the 6'5" guard was automatic from beyond the arc while posting 14 points.
Friday's Advocare Invitational Action
12:00 PM EST
2-2 20. Wichita State - 2-2 Alabama (ESPN3)
Alabama: 64-45 Loss - 23. Xavier
Wichita State: 72-69 Loss - USC
2:30 PM EST
5-0 23. Xavier - 5-0 USC (ESPNU)
Xavier: 64-45 Win - Alabama
USC: 71-69 Win - 20. Wichita State
7:00 PM EST
3-1 17. Notre Dame - 3-1 Iowa (ESPN3)
Notre Dame: 70-68 Loss - Monmouth
Iowa: 82-77 Loss - Dayton
9:30 PM EST
3-1 Monmouth - 4-0 Dayton (ESPN2)
Monmouth: 70-68 Win - 17. Notre Dame
Dayton: 82-77 Win - Iowa
Coverage of Friday and Sunday's games from the HP Field House in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, can and will be found on VAVEL US.