IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Hawkeyes survived an upset scare in the first round of the NCAA tournament, beating Mercer 66-61.
The 15-seed Mercer Bears never let the game get out of reach. A halftime buzzer beater from Iowa’s Makenzie Meyer gave the 2-seed Hawkeyes a 35-27 lead.
Mercer had a big third quarter, outscoring Iowa 24-15. The Bears took a 51-50 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Turnovers hurt Iowa in the game. They had 24 turnovers, while Mercer had just three. But the Hawkeyes were playing at home in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and the home crowd backed them down the stretch.
It was close to the end, as Mercer and Iowa traded baskets and leads. Iowa was able to hold on and make some free throws to pull out the 66-61 victory.
Gustafson’s big performance led Iowa. She had 30 points and 16 rebounds. Meyer scored 16 points for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa advances to the second round and will play the winner of the Missouri vs. Drake game. The second round game will be played Sunday.