Iowa Basketball: Hawks Battle Back For First Big Ten Win

Gladys Abbott
January 15, 2018

The Iowa and IL men's basketball programs both seek their first Big Ten victory this season in a pivotal game at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT at State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill. Jordan Bohannon's dagger 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining stretched the Hawkeye lead to 99-90. Their inopportune play dropped them to 0-5 in conference play as Iowa picked up its first Big Ten win, 104-97. He played sparingly in early games this season, prompting his decision to transfer.

Junior forward Nicholas Baer (10 points) and Bohannon swished back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 54-51 with 17:52 to go.

Iowa scores 100+ points in a Big Ten road game for the first time since beating Michigan State, 103-87, on March 3, 1998. "First half was fun to watch, not so much the second".

The Illini (10-8, 0-5 Big Ten) already had had four players foul out at that point.

IL came into Thursday night as one of the more offensively challenged teams.

Iowa: As has been well-documented, Iowa struggles with consistently doing things well.

The Hawkeyes stayed close and got IL in foul trouble, eventually taking the lead with 3 minutes to play. The Hawkeyes trailed by 23 points (38-15) with 13 seconds remaining in the first half in an eventual 65-56 win over Gardner-Webb in 2012 and trailed by 22 points (61-39) with 16 minutes left at IL in 1987 in a 91-88 overtime triumph. IL is last in the Big Ten at assist-to-turnover ratio, with 243 team assists to 252 turnovers (0.96-to-1). Then DaMonte Williams fouled out and left IL with just 5 rotation players and a few minutes to play.

After the Fighting Illini won both contests against the Hawkeyes last season, these teams will meet for the first time this year. Luka Garza had his best game as a Hawkeye.

The Washingon, D.C., native scored 17 of his 19 points in second half and overtime and he grabbed six more rebounds to finish off his third double-double of the season.

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Overall, the Black and Gold out-rebounded IL by 19 (45-26).

Jordan Bohannan's 3-point dagger that essentially took the air out of the State Farm Center crowd, not to mention the IL team, coaches and bench. Most importantly, Garza went 9-9 at the free throw line as well.

IL finally got an extra chance thanks to Frazier's improbable 3 at the buzzer to force an extra period.

IL is a 5.5-point favorite on the opening line, while the Over/Under (O/U) for the game opened at 154.5 points.

Iowa big man Garza essentially took over for Iowa in the final four minutes of regulation, scoring seven points to give Iowa the lead, which it held until Frazier's buzzer-beater sent the game into overtime. The Panthers defeated the visiting Tigers 66-59 in their second overtime game this season.

Bohannon led all scorers with 29 points, making 7-of-16 field goals, including five 3-pointers, to go along with a 10-for-10 night from the free throw stripe. Illinois's win probability (pictured below, from ESPN) would hit 97% after that, its highest of the evening.

It certainly was not ideal.

Next for the Hawkeyes is a trip to Louis Brown Athletic Center to face Rutgers on January 17. To this point, that's not a consistent kind of performance, especially from Cook, but given how Iowa has played defensively, getting and making the most of second chances is a high priority. Iowa had their work cut out for them by halftime. The Fighting Illini thought significant improvement would take place under new coach Brad Underwood.

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