Johni Broome had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and No. 9 seed Auburn beat Iowa 83-75 on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers (21-12) made 11 of 12 free throws over the final four minutes to lock up a second-round matchup with No. 1 seed Houston or Northern Kentucky.
Broome even made his ninth 3-pointer of the season to push the margin into double digits for the first time with 16 minutes left.
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The Tigers appeared poised to pull away in front of a partisan orange-and-blue crowd, going up by 17 with a 13-2 run midway through the second half sparked by Tre Donaldson’s three 3-pointers off the bench.
The eighth-seeded Hawkeyes climbed back into it, twice cutting it down to four but coming no closer.
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Auburn had five players score in double figures. Wendell Green Jr. had 15 points, and Donaldson and KD Johnson each finished with 11. Allen Flanigan scored 10.
Payton Sandford scored 21 points for Iowa. Kris Murray had 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting and nine rebounds. Filip Rebraca scored 14 points.
Auburn: Made seven 3-pointers in the second half after a 1-of-9 start.
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Iowa: Fell just short of a fifth consecutive 20-win season. Missed all nine first-half 3-point attempts and finished 7 of 27 (25.9%) from deep.
Auburn is 1-6 all-time against Houston, among the favorites to win it all.
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