No. 12 seed Richmond Spiders stun Iowa Hawkeyes in first round of NCAA tournament

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Upsetting teams in the NCAA tournament is nothing new for the twelfth-seeded Richmond Spiders, who knocked off the fifth-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes 67-63 on Thursday in this year's first big upset.

It was Richmond's ninth victory as a No. 12 seed or worse since seeding began in 1979.

No other team has more than four.

So when did the Spiders feel like they could pull the upset?

"Probably last Thursday [before the Spiders began their A10 Tournament run]," Richmond fifth-year guard Jacob Gilyard said. "At the end of the day, we knew we're a tough team to scout, the way we run our offense and how many older guys we have. It's tough to try and guard us. We're a fairly confident group, and I think last weekend showed that, and I don't think anybody doesn't believe in each other."

Gilyard scored 24 points, while Tyler Burton added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Spiders (24-12). Nathan Cayo also had 15 points, including a couple of big baskets down the stretch, as the Atlantic 10 tournament champ Spiders (24-12) improved their NCAA tourney record against fifth-seeded teams to 4-0. The Spiders held on to the lead for the final 14:32 of the game and will play Providence on Saturday.

But how was Richmond able to match up with Iowa's offense?

The Spiders' held the Hawkeyes' explosive offense to just 28 first-half points. When it was over, so was Iowa's 16-game streak of scoring 70 points or more -- the longest active streak in Division I.

"I don't think we were too scared to play at their pace," Gilyard said. "At the end of the day, we had to guard and make it tough. Obviously, it was going to be tough trying to guard Keegan, but I think we did a really good job overall as a team."

Iowa (26-10) came into the game averaging 83.8 points per game, which ranked fourth in the nation. Richmond held Iowa to its third-fewest point total of the season after the Hawkeyes set conference tournament records with their performance in the Big Ten tournament, winning four games in four days.

Keegan Murray, averaged 23.6 points per game, finished with 21 points on 53.3% shooting for the Hawkeyes.

Murray was 6-of-13 on contested shots, including 0-of-3 on 3-pointers. He went 0-of-5 shooting outside the paint, and at one point, was held scoreless for a 15-minute stretch.

"They're just physical, and they brought a lot of guys any time I was driving to the basket or in the paint area, so it was really nothing new to me," Murray said. "But I was able to find a lot of guys in kickouts and things like that. I really feel like I didn't have to score as much this game."

The end of the game was not without some controversy as Iowa believed Kris Murray was fouled with about a minute remaining in a then-three-point game by Richmond's Matt Grace. Instead, Grace was credited with a block despite appearing to hit Murray's elbow.

"I have not seen the replay. I remember Kris' reaction, which was I think pretty dramatic," Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said. "It was upsetting for him. I feel bad for him. He is a pretty good shooter. He is typically not going to shoot and miss by that much many that situation, but, again, it's on the other side of the floor, so I think it would be inappropriate for me to say, 'Oh, it was a terrible call.' I'm 45 feet away from it, so I'll just defer to the official on that."

The Big Ten tournament champion has lost its opening NCAA tournament game only twice -- Michigan State in 2016 and Iowa in 2006, per research by ESPN Stats & Information.

McCaffery drops to 4-6 in NCAA tournament games -- the worst tournament win percentage while at a Big Ten school (among 35 coaches with more than five NCAA tournament games coached).

"The game was really physical. Normally we get to the free-throw line more often," McCaffrey said. "Typically, we expect to shoot more than two free-throws in the second half, especially the way we were driving the ball. Defensively, we were not where we needed to be. We were OK at times. We had a couple of stretches where we were getting consecutive stops. We didn't get them when we really needed them. ... I think in a situation like this, you have to give respect to your opponent."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.