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Iowa's Luka Garza overcome with emotion after upset loss to Oregon in men's NCAA Tournament

Steve Gardner, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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Two-time Big Ten player of the year Luka Garza did all he could to help Iowa avoid the upset in Monday's men's NCAA Tournament second-round game, but in the end it wasn't enough.

The second-seeded Hawkeyes fell to No. 7-seeded Oregon 95-80, despite 36 points and nine rebounds from the 6-11 Garza, who concluded his college career with a painful loss.

The finality of the situation hit home as Garza left the court in the game's final minute. With his father waving to him from the stands, the first-team All-American couldn't hold back his emotions as he made his way to the bench.

“I just feel heartbroken,” Garza said aferward, “with all the work I did that I couldn’t lead this team to where it needed to go. That’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”

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Led by Garza, the Hawkeyes confidently considered themselves one of the best teams in the nation all season. They wanted to be the first Iowa team to get to the Final Four since 1980. They certainly thought they could snap a 22-year drought of Iowa missing the Sweet 16 of the men’s tournament. Garza wanted to be the one to lead them to at least that point.

“To not be able to get to the Sweet 16 and beyond, it’s heartbreaking,” Garza said, using that term again. “I couldn’t have played any harder. I couldn’t have worked any harder. I put everything I could into this. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

Garza concludes his career as Iowa's all-time leading scorer, breaking Roy Marble's record earlier this season. The school also recently announced that it will retire Garza's No. 55 jersey.

Contributing: Chad Leistikow, Des Moines Register

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Luka Garza in tears after Iowa's loss to Oregon in NCAA Tournament