CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The signature win Iowa's basketball team has been looking for came in one of college basketball's historic arenas.
The Hawkeyes knocked off No. 12 North Carolina, 60-55, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday at the Smith Center.
Mike Gesell's conventional three-point play gave Iowa the lead for good with 1 minute, 16 seconds remaining. His two free throws with a second remaining clinched it.
Gesell led the Hawkeyes, 6-2, with 16 points. Adam Woodbury added 11. Iowa native Marcus Paige had 13 for North Carolina.
Iowa led by as many as eight in the opening half and took a 31-29 advantage into the break. This, despite getting crushed on the boards.
North Carolina had a 26-15 rebounding edge in the first 20 minutes. The Tar Heels had more offensive rebounds, 15, than Iowa did defensive rebounds, 14. The Hawkeyes had just one offensive rebound in the opening half and got outscored on second-chance points, 11-0.
Compounding matters were five fouls on Iowa's two centers, Adam Woodbury (two) and Gabe Olaseni (three). Because of superior rebounding, North Carolina only trailed at halftime, 31-29, despite shooting 26.8 percent from the floor.
Iowa's first points after an offensive rebound came on Woodbury's tip-in of a Jarrod Uthoff miss with 17:12 left in the game to give the Hawkeyes a 36-34 lead.
North Carolina's 9-0 run had Iowa on the ropes, down 45-40 with 10 minutes to go. But the Hawkeyes fought off the run, and eventually took a 51-49 lead with 5:16 remaining after Woodbury and Gesell made back-to-back bank shots.