IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa opened Big Ten Tournament play with a 96-87 win against Illinois in a first-round matchup on Wednesday.
The Hawkeyes (14-18) used a 13-0 first-half run to build a lead and led for the final 36 minutes in the contest. This was a much easier win over Illinois (14-18) than in January. The Hawkeyes overcame a 20-point deficit to pull out a 104-97 win in overtime.
Guard Kipper Nichols scored a career-high 31 points for Illinois.
We've seen more blood and player-to-player scuffles today than we have all season. Both teams desperate to keep their seasons alive
— Don Doxsie (@Dox5) March 1, 2018
WHY: Hot shooting helped Iowa. The Hawkeyes shot 56.3 percent overall and made 34 of 41 free throws. Any time Illinois cut it to a one-possession game in the second half Iowa responded with a big basket.
WHO STARRED: Guard Jordan Bohannon led Iowa in points against Illinois for the second consecutive time this season. He scored 25 points and hit 5 3-point field goals on Wednesday. He scored 29 points against Illinois in January. Also, forward Luka Garza added 20 points.
Jordan Bohannon had five 3-pointers Jan. 11 vs. Illinois; he has five more today and 21 points for the game. Iowa leads by 9, under 5:00 left.
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) March 1, 2018
Iowa 96, Illinois 87. Iowa will face Michigan tomorrow. Final stats: pic.twitter.com/crF1b6B4JX
— Chris Bumbaca (@BOOMbaca) March 1, 2018
WHAT’S NEXT: Iowa advances to face No. 15 Michigan (24-7) at approximately 1:30 p.m. CT on Thursday. The game will start 25 minutes after the conclusion of the Wisconsin-Maryland game that tips off at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Iowa-Illinois game updates
3:53 (2H) — Iowa leads 84-73 at the final media timeout. The Hawkeyes also hold a 34-16 rebounding margin. Controlling the glass has been vital to building this lead.
7:43 (2H) — Ahmad Wagner went down under the basket, and the training staff is looking at him. Iowa leads 73-66.
Ahmad Wagner, who has helped his Iowa team today, is hurt and hobbling to the dressing room.
— Mike Hlas (@Hlas) March 1, 2018
9:51 (2H) — Bohannon with a 3-pointer, forcing an Illinois timeout. Iowa leads 68-61. The Bohannon 3-pointer was part of a 5-point possession as Cook was fouled on a basket. He missed the free throw, but Wagner grabbed the offensive rebound and found Bohannon.
9:59 (2H) — Nichols now has 4 fouls and is headed to the bench.
10:49 (2H) — Nichols is having a night for Illinois. He has 23 points and is someone Iowa can’t let get open the rest of the way. Iowa leads 63-59.
12:03 (2H) — Illinois staying in the game thanks to the 3-point shot. The Illini are 9 of 16 from the 3-point line. Back-to-back treys helped Illinois cut the Iowa lead to 59-54.
12:18 (2H) — Black isn’t the only player with 4 fouls. Dailey now has 4 for Iowa.
12:41 (2H) — Black and Moss were going for a rebound, and Black picked up his fourth foul. That is good news for Iowa. Black entered the game averaging 22 points during his last four games and only has 4 points against the Hawkeyes.
15:17 (2H) — Offensively, this one is trending a lot like the first meeting with Illinois. Bohannon, Cook and Garza have combined for 35 of Iowa’s 52 points. They had 69 of the team’s 104 points in January.
16:27 (2H) — Illinois coach Brad Underwood was just given a technical foul. Bohannon hit both foul shots to give the Hawkeyes a 10-point lead.
18:36 (2H) — Black already has picked up his third foul for Illinois. Meanwhile, Kipper Nichols is continuing to be a problem for Iowa on defense. He has 14 points.
Halftime — Iowa leads Illinois 35-31. Here is what the Hawkeyes must do to close out this win:
- Keep the offense going. Iowa is shooting 60 percent.
- Protect the ball and limit the impact of Illinois’ pressure defense. Iowa has committed 9 turnovers.
- Defend the 3-point line. Illinois is shooting 54.5 percent from deep.
- Be aware of Frazier and Black. Illinois’ two best players were limited to 20 combined minutes because of foul trouble. The Illini will look to get them going in the second half.
3:30 (1H) — The Hawkeyes lead 28-23, but this one is far from decided. Iowa started strong, but Illinois slowly is working its way back into the contest.
4:36 (1H) — There is a delay in action as Cook cut his hand attempting a dunk. He needed to get his hand bandaged, and his blood needed to be removed from the court. The blood kept Cook from shooting 2 free throws. Iowa subbed Jordan Bohannon in, and he hit both foul shots.
4:36 (1H) — This game is going as you expect one between the No. 12 and No. 13 teams in a conference to go. It is sloppy. It is disjointed, and neither team is executing consistently. The teams have combined for 16 turnovers. Iowa leads 26-21.
7:12 (1H) — Each team has three players with 2 fouls, but Iowa is getting the worst of it with Bohannon, Dailey and Moss. Bohannon is Iowa’s only point guard. No one wants to play a pressure defense without its point guard. Don’t be surprised if Bohannon returns in the first half and plays with 2 fouls.
9:24 (1H) — Illinois forward Leron Black just picked up his second foul. He has averaged 22 points during his last four games. Iowa leads 20-10.
11:40 (1H) — Maishe Dailey just picked up his second foul. Iowa leads 17-8 and is playing pretty stout defense so far. Illinois is shooting 27.3 percent.
12:34 (1H) — It is all Iowa right now. Tyler Cook threw down a monster slam to force an Illinois timeout. The Hawkeyes are on a 13-0 run and lead 17-5.
13:28 (1H) — After the fifth turnover, the Hawkeyes respond with a series of good offensive possessions and extend the lead to 15-5. When Iowa holds onto the ball it is doing really good things on offense.
15:09 (1H) — Iowa commits its fifth turnover out of the timeout. Illinois plays an aggressive, pressure defense. It is going to be hard for Iowa to win if it keeps giving the ball away.
15:41 (1H) — Good news: Iowa is 2 of 4 from the field. Bad news: Iowa has committed 4 turnovers. The Hawkeyes lead 6-5 at the first media timeout.
18:11 (1H) — Isaiah Moss has picked up 2 fouls in less than 2 minutes of game action. Iowa leads 2-0 as both teams are trying to find their offensive games.
20:00 (1H) — The game is set to begin, and Madison Square Garden is pretty empty for this one.
Crowd size at introductions. pic.twitter.com/snG4VnO5pk
— John Sears (@johnsears) February 28, 2018
Iowa-Illinois pregame updates
4:27 p.m. — The Iowa starters are Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Jack Nunge, Tyler Cook and Luka Gaza.
3:41 p.m. — The officials for the game are Lewis Garrison, Terry Wymer and Bo Boroski.
3:30 p.m. CT — Welcome to the Iowa-Illinois Land of 10 Iowa pregame blog. The Hawkeyes are set to open the Big Ten Tournament in about an hour.
Iowa-Illinois basketball game time, details
- Time: 4:30 p.m. CT tip-off
- Date: Wednesday, Feb. 28
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
What TV channel is showing Iowa-Illinois?
The Big Ten Network will air the Iowa-Illinois game. The announcers for the contest are Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo and Mike Hall.
How can I watch Iowa-Illinois online?
BTN2G0 will stream the game. Click here for more information.
How can I listen to Iowa-Illinois on the radio?
In Iowa, 600 AM (WMT-Cedar Rapids), 1040 AM (WHO-Des Moines) and 800 AM (KXIC-Iowa City) are the Hawkeyes’ flagship radio stations. Gary Dolphin is the play-by-play broadcaster, with Bob Hansen as the color analyst. Click here for other Iowa radio affiliates.
The TuneIn app also streams basketball games.
Which Iowa will show up?
The one which fell behind to Illinois by 20 points in the first half? Or the one which won in overtime? That will determine whether the Hawkeyes’ stay in New York lasts beyond one game.
The first half was a 20-minute snapshot of why the season went sideways for the Hawkeyes. Defense was at times nonexistent as Illinois hit 9 of 15 3-pointers. Iowa couldn’t hold onto the basketball (17 turnovers) and struggled from beyond the arc (1 of 8).
As the ball security improved and the team’s two stars found their shot, the deficit dwindled. Guard Jordan Bohannon and forward Tyler Cook combined for 50 points.
The Hawkeyes used a similar formula to defeat Northwestern 77-70 in the regular-season finale on Saturday. They committed only 9 turnovers. Cook had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Bohannon scored 25 points and made national news by purposely missing a free throw that would have broken the school-record consecutive makes held by Chris Street.
Illinois has a tendency to play with any opponent — even the top Big Ten teams — into the second half before letting games slip away. The Illini also use a pressure defense and tend to pick up the basketball full court, and it can be a problem for opponents.
“Obviously, they are probably one of the best bottom teams in the country from the record and how hard they play,” Bohannon said. “Obviously, they deny everything. They guard you full court and try to wear you down. It should be a tough challenge for us.”
Point guard Trent Frazier and forward Leron Black were tough challenges in January.
Frazier is a concern because he is capable of attacking the rim and emerged as a 3-point shooter later in the season. Iowa can struggle defending dribble penetration and the deep shot. Frazier scored 27 points and hit 7 3-point shots in the first meeting.
Black excels in the low post, and his aggressive nature on the block can land Cook or fellow forward Luka Garza in early foul trouble. Black had 18 points in January against Iowa.
Iowa’s only hope of making the NCAA Tournament is by winning five games in five days and claiming the league’s automatic berth. Connecticut won five games in five days at MSG in the old Big East in 2011. Bohannon is well aware of it. He watched video highlights of it this week and hopes to create his own Madison Square Garden magic in the coming days.
“Obviously, it can be done, and we can’t rule that out,” Bohannon said. “Just knowing what we are capable of doing. We haven’t put anything together this season. What better way to do it than Madison Square Garden and try to get an NCAA bid?”