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IOWA CITY, Ia. — A Hawkeye-heavy crowd of almost 10,000 tried its greatest to drown out the nervous power. Nevertheless it was there, and it was real. This was not the drama Iowa needed.

No. 15 seeds have been winless in one hundred tries getting into Friday’s NCAA Event opener, but Mercer and its small however spirited cheering section threw punch after punch inside Carver-Hawkeye Area.

The Hawkeyes have been fortunate to outlive.

Regardless of a season-excessive in turnovers and an general disjointed performance, Iowa held on for a 66-sixty one win over the Bears. The Hawkeyes advance to the second round and will get the winner of Missouri vs. Drake.

The absurd surfaces when the March lights flip on, but this almost defied all logic. Iowa was an almost 30-level favorite towards a Bears program making just its second NCAA Event appearance since shifting to Division I.

Mercer remained locked on Iowa’s hip all afternoon, refusing to fade away until the ultimate minute. The Bears had a 51-50 lead after three quarters and have been up two after Keke Calloway’s trey with four:19 remaining. A staff with no enterprise hanging shut all of a sudden had belief. That’s a harmful recipe this time of yr.

Iowa managed to avoid catastrophe. It held Mercer to at least one area aim during the last 4 minutes, and Hannah Stewart poured in six factors down the stretch.

Tania Davis missed two free throws with Iowa up sixty four-sixty one and 15 seconds remaining. But Megan Gustafson hit the deck and helped pressure a leap ball. The Hawkeyes stored possession. Kathleen Doyle was fouled and sank two free throws to ice it.

Then, a collective breath.

Gustafson was her standard self, pouring in 30 points and 16 rebounds with solely two missed subject objectives. Makenzie Meyer added sixteen on 5-for-7 from deep. Iowa led by as many as 11 in the first half and appeared ready to surge ahead after halftime.

Twenty-four turnovers stored Mercer within attain. The Bears owned the third quarter and spilled momentum into the ultimate stretch.

Iowa survived. However that’s about all it did.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa Metropolis Press-Citizen. E mail him at msouthard@gannett.com or comply with him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.