Photos: Iowa men’s basketball vs. Auburn in the NCAA Tournament

Matt Sindt, Photo Editor

BIRMINGHAM, Al. -Iowa men’s basketball fell to Auburn 83-75 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Legacy Arena on Thursday.

In the second half, Auburn managed to find a 17 point lead. With poor three-point shooting, the Hawkeyes were unable to overcome the deficit, leading to a Tiger victory.

A loss for the Hawkeyes marks the end of the 2022-2023 men’s basketball season. Iowa forward Filip Rebraca and guard Connor McCaffery played their final game for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

“The emotions still haven’t set in right now; they definitely will. It’s a place where I grew a lot… I got to meet some really incredible people here that I’ll have connections with for the end of my life. I’ll talk to these people forever… We’ll see were basketball takes me,” Rebraca said in a post game locker room interview.

Connor McCaffery’s brother and teammate, Patrick McCaffery, spoke in the locker room after the game about his brother leaving. “He [Connor McCaffery] is my best friend in the whole world. So having him not be here any more is tough. I’ve always had my brother with me… I’m not going to have my best friend with me anymore,” Patrick McCaffery said.

Iowa head coach, and father to Connor and Patrick, Fran McCaffery, spoke about his son’s final game. “Definitely ‘dad mode’ there, you’re absolutely right. I think back to the first time I took him [Connor McCaffery] to the final four, first time I took him on a road trip with us. I remember, -it would have been the 2007 championship game of our conference tournament, he was sitting on the bench and bawling his eyes out because we weren’t going to get to go to the NCAA Tournament. But, I’m just so proud of him… And he’s an unselfish person… And he’s gonna make sure that if a guy is struggling, he talks to that guy… And there’s just no, there’s no substitute for how valuable that is,” Fran McCaffery said in a post game interview.

In the final seconds of the matchup, Connor McCaffery received his fifth foul and was disqualified from the remainder of the game. He then walked off the court and hugged his father.

“Win a lot of games. Had a lot of hard losses. That falls into that category. It’s a big chapter in my life that’s closed. I can’t come back again. I just kind of feel like it all hit me. Probably didn’t need to take that foul, but I just kind of wanted to come off the court, give my dad a hug. Have a nice end to it I guess,” Connor McCaffery said in a post game locker room interview.