By BILL KACZOR
NICEVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Micah Peavy scored 16 points and Mike Miles Jr. added 15 in his second game back from an injury to lead TCU over No. 25 Iowa, 79-66, in the Emerald Coast Classic championship game on Saturday night.
Miles, the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The point guard returned to action in the semifinal round Friday after missing two games with a left foot injury.
The Horned Frogs (5-1) broke open what had been a nip-and-tuck battle up until about three minutes into the second half, when TCU went on a 13-4 run to grab a 58-43 lead. TCU coach Jamie Dixon credited his team’s defense.
“Eventually the ball pressure seemed to wear them down and we did a better job contesting around the basket,” Dixon said. “I think that’s where it turned.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery agreed.
“Collectively, they were real physical with their defense,” McCaffery said. “It affected us throughout the course of the game. Also, we started quick-shooting the ball.”
Xavier Cork was the only other scorer in double figures for TCU with 10 points.
TCU held Iowa’s Patrick McCaffery scoreless a day after he led the Hawkeyes (5-1) with 21 points in their semifinal win over Clemson. Tony Perkins and Ahron Ulis led Iowa with 15 points each. Kris Murray added 11.
A healthy Miles was a big factor for TCU, which also has dealt with other injuries and illnesses.
“I felt really good going into this game because it was literally the first game I’ve had this year where I knew who was playing the morning of,” Dixon said.
Peavy opened the game with a 3-pointer and a layup as TCU sprinted to a 9-0 lead. That turned out to be the Horned Frogs’ biggest margin of the first period. Iowa responded with an 11-2 run for the first of five ties before halftime.
TWICE IS NICE
It was TCU’s second Emerald Coast title in as many appearances. The Horned Frogs also won in 2017, defeating New Mexico and St. Bonaventure. Later that season, TCU earned its first NCAA Tournament bid in 20 years.
This was only the fourth time that TCU and Iowa have played over a span of 76 years. The last meeting was in 2017, when TCU won a second-round NIT game 94-92 in overtime at Iowa City. Iowa prevailed in 1946 and 1948.
THE BIG PICTURE
TCU: The win showed how important Miles is to the Horned Frogs and could vault them back into the AP Top 25. They opened at No. 14, their highest preseason ranking, but dropped out of the poll after a one-point loss to Northwestern State while Miles was sidelined. Defeating Iowa is their first signature win and they won’t have a chance to notch another until January, when they begin a series of Big 12 games.
Iowa: The loss likely made the Hawkeyes’ stay in the Top 25 a brief one after grabbing the last spot earlier in the week. The road ahead is challenging, starting with a double dose of Atlantic Coast Conference matchups in Georgia Tech on Tuesday and then No. 8 Duke in the Jimmy V Classic before the in-state rivalry with Iowa State and the Big Ten opener against Wisconsin.
Iowa: Hosts Georgia Tech on Tuesday as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
TCU: Hosts Providence on Wednesday.
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