BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (EETV) — Auburn led by 17 with 10:50 left in the 2nd half but in an event all too familiar to Auburn fans, Iowa went on a 10-2 run to bring it within four with 5:03 left. It’s at that point that Wendell Green got involved with the offense scoring a clutch layup to help stop the bleeding before sinking four-straight free throws to get momentum back on Auburn’s side.
"Wendell was a great floor general," head coach Bruce Pearl said. "I thought our bench played really well. Our speed and quickness were a factor defensively."
With the shift of momentum, the game would not get within four again en route to an 83-75 Auburn victory.
“We knew they had another run in them,” Johni Broome said postgame. "We were like, ‘Let’s make a stop and win this game.’”
Six different Auburn players finished the night with double-digit scoring; Johni Broome, Wendell Green, K.D Johnson, Allen Flanigan, Jaylin Williams and Tre Donaldson.
Broome added the most to the stat sheet. The big man finished with a team-high 19 points, 12 rebounds and an assist in 31 minutes of play.
Broome and Auburn started the game showing their physicality by scoring 14 of their first 16 points in the paint.
Auburn got 14 of its 31 points and 13 of its 21 rebounds from just two players — Johni Broome and Allen Flanigan.
Flanigan had a double-double of his own with 10 points, 10 boards and four assists.
The physical play wasn’t limited to the offense as Auburn’s defense held with Iowa to 0-9 on attempts. Iowa didn't shoot a single 3-pointer in the final 6:49 of the half.
Donaldson hit three 3-pointers in a span of fewer than 2 minutes midway through the 2nd half to help Auburn to a 13-2 run. Donaldson finished with 11 points going a perfect from the field and from the free throw line.
"He's got a toughness about him, a swag, a confidence," Pearl said of Donaldson. "He did not look like a freshman at all. It's very important that your bench plays well in the postseason. K.D. has given us such a spark coming off the bench."
Green struggled from the field but the guard went a perfect eight-for-eight from the charity stripe. Midway through the game Green broke the record for most free throws made in a row without a miss, breaking Daniel Purifoy and Frankie Sullivan's mark of 28.
Auburn extends their first-round winning streak to 12-straight over their last 12 tournament appearances.
With the win, Auburn advances to the Round of 32 to face off against the winner of 1-seed Houston and 16-seed Northern Kentucky. The game will once again be held in Legacy Arena in Birmingham in what today proved to be a loud Auburn crowd.