Johni Broome had 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots as No. 9 seed Auburn beat Iowa 83-75 Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Tigers (21-12) made 11 of 12 free throws in the final four minutes to clinch 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 to double digits for the first time with 16 minutes remaining.
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The Tigers looked set to walk away in front of a partisan orange and blue crowd, going up by 17 on a 13-2 run midway through the second half sparked by Tre Donaldson’s three 3-pointers off the bench.
The eighth-seeded Hawkeyes moved back up, cutting it twice to four, but not coming close.
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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-for-9 start.
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Iowa: Fell just shy of a fifth straight 20-win season. He missed all nine 3-point attempts in the first half and finished 7 of 27 (25.9%) from deep.
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Auburn is 1-6 all-time against Houston, among the favorites to win it all.