IOWA CITY, Iowa, March 17 (UPI) -- Chauncey Leslie scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 11.4 seconds left Monday night, as Iowa edged Valparaiso, 62-60, in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The Hawkeyes (16-13) will face Iowa State or Wichita State in the first round.
Iowa had not recorded a basket in over five minutes and was trailing by a point when Leslie cut into the lane and put home a jumper off the glass to give the Hawkeyes a 61-60 lead.
"I told Chauncey that he had to make a play at the end," said Iowa Coach Steve Alford. "I think he scored 13 points in the second half. That is what a senior has to do, and he really stepped it up."
"We didn't have anyone who could keep up with Leslie," said Valparaiso Coach Scott Drew. "That shot he made at the end was a tough shot. If we'd have known ahead of time that was the shot he was going to take, we'd have said, 'Let's just see if he can make it.'"
Jared Reiner had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Horner chipped in seven assists as Iowa secured only its fifth victory in its last 15 games.
The Hawkeyes bounced back after being eliminated from the Big Ten Conference tournament with a 66-64 loss to Ohio State on Thursday.
Stalin Ortiz paced Valparaiso with 17 points, but the Crusaders (20-11) closed their season with back-to-back losses, having suffered a 66-64 loss last week to IUPUI in the championship of the Mid-Continent Conference.
The Crusaders were forced to play the final 4:14 without leading scorer Raitis Grafs, who fouled out after contributing just nine points.
"We had six seniors out there tonight," Drew said. "We got a lot of effort out of them. They didn't want to take off their jerseys for the last time."