Caleb Grill scored a game-high 31 points and Iowa State knocked off No. 1 North Carolina 70-65 at the Phil Knight Invitational on Friday in Portland, Ore.
Jaren Holmes added 22 for the Cyclones (5-0), who will play either No. 20 UConn or No. 18 Alabama in the tournament championship on Sunday night.
R.J. Davis led North Carolina (5-1) with 15 points, Armando Bacot had 13 points with nine rebounds and Caleb Love scored 12.
Grill made the difference late for Iowa State with vital back-to-back jumpers.
First he hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 61 with 2:25 remaining. Gabe Kalscheur then had a steal for Iowa State and set up a jumper for Grill to give the Cyclones the lead, 63-61.
Strong defense and solid work from the free-throw line then helped Iowa State ice the victory. Iowa State led 70-63 before a layup at the buzzer by North Carolina cut the final score to five points.
North Carolina’s 3-point shooting made a difference in the loss. The Tarheels went 3 for 18 from beyond the arc, while Iowa State hit 9 of 20 and used long-range shooting to fuel the upset.
The Tar Heels looked like they were in a position to cruise multiple times, but they kept getting tracked down the Cyclones.
It was 47-47 with 7:58 remaining before North Carolina went on an 11-4 run to take a seven-point lead, but Iowa State battled back.
North Carolina led 30-21 during the first half after a layup by Davis. Iowa State then closed the half on a 11-4 run to make it a two-point game, 34-32, in North Carolina’s favor at halftime.
Iowa State had reached the semifinal of the invitational with an 81-79 overtime victory against Villanova. North Carolina had dispatched Portland 89-81 in that same round.
–Field Level Media