Illinois Blocks Iowa From Double Bye [VIDEO]
It was a classic Big Ten battle in Champaign on Sunday, and one could almost tell these two teams hope to face each other a third time in the upcoming Big Ten Conference Tournament. If that happens, Iowa has a few things to figure out after dropping the game 78-76.
The game was for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Illinois won't play now until Friday. The Hawkeyes now will play the winner of Minnesota and Northwestern on Thursday afternoon. The games of the tournament will be played in Indianapolis, a far cry from the hostile environment Iowa found themselves in Sunday in Champaign. The game itself was a back and forth affair that was tied at the half.
But the Illini came out hot in the second half and sprinted to a 64-48 lead with just under 12 minutes left. But Iowa went to work behind, who else, Luka Garza. The junior had 29 points to lead Iowa. Connor McCaffery and Bakari Evelyn made key three-pointers as Iowa pulled within two with 18 seconds to play. After McCaffery drove for a shot and missed, Iowa had one more chance with 1.6 seconds to play. Garza had his shot blocked, and Illinois escaped.
Garza had his 16th straight game with 20 or more points, tying Fred Brown's 49-year-old Iowa record.