Illini, Hawkeyes both desperate for a win

Illini, Hawkeyes both desperate for a win

Underwood, in his first season as the IL coach, is just concerned about getting his team healthy - nearly every player on the roster has had the flu over the past week - and getting his players to understand what it takes to win in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes expected to contend for an upper-division Big Ten finish and return to the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa is averaging 80.7 points per game, while IL is averaging 78.9 points per contest.

Iowa (10-9) and IL (10-8) clashed in Champaign on the evening of January 11 in a battle of winless teams in Big Ten play.

Neither Iowa nor IL have lived up to expectations this year.

Alexis Sevillian matched her career-high with 21 points, hitting 5 of 8 3-pointers, for the Hawkeyes (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) and had 15 points and 10 assists. The Hawkeyes were +19 on the glass (45-26) and they went 33-of-40 from the free throw line (Illinois was 11-of-14).

In all four of its Big Ten losses, IL has been within two possessions during the final 10 minutes of the game.

"Jordan was great all game long", said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. "He was ready this time". Freshman center Luka Garza (10.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) has just two fewer rebounds than Cook (6.3) for the Hawkeyes.

Sophomore Isaiah Moss and Baer finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Iowa led 4-2 in the infant stages of the game before the Fighting Illini reeled off a 13-0 run to take a 15-4 advantage. In two of the last three conference games, whenever he's gone off the floor, Iowa's offense disappeared.

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"There are so many things that enter into good defense", McCaffery said.

"We were really good in the first half and that was fun to watch. We scored the first 10 points of second half, so now it's a two possession game so it's a completely different game with 17 minutes to go". They notched 38 points in the paint on a night when they shot just 7 of 24 from behind the three-point arc. The Hawkeyes tied the game at 66 with 12:06 remaining and again at 79 with 5:44 left, but they didn't retake the lead until Garza went off with a personal 8-0 spurt.

The Fighting Illini rank 23rd in three pointers allowed per game (17.9) while the Hawkeyes rank 150th (22.4).

Frazier led the Illini with 27 points (including 7-of-11 from 3-point range), Leron Black posted 18 points and Aaron Jordan had 18 points off the bench, but ultimately defense killed the Illini. He had 18 3-pointers in 17 games heading into Thursday's contest.

According to the University of Iowa Sports Information, it's Iowa's second largest road comeback in school history. The Hawkeyes outscored the Illini 49-36 in the second twenty minutes. Leron Black only played 20 minutes, scoring seven points at MI on Saturday. In the second half, Garza was the X-factor.

On the season, Iowa basketball averages 80.7 points, 40.0 rebounds and 19.2 assists per game. The big man scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in nine second-half minutes.

IL ranks 46th in assists allowed per game (11.5) while Iowa ranks 182nd (14.7).

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