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Goodbye to the double bye: 5 takeaways from Iowa’s loss to Illinois

Iowa stormed back after being down 16 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois
Luka Garza scored 28 points in Iowa’s loss to Illinois on Sunday.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawkeyes comeback bid fell one bucket short on Sunday against Illinois, as the Illini won 78-76 Sunday evening in Champaign. Luka Garza scored 28 points for Iowa. Joe Toussaint scored 14 and Connor McCaffery added 10 as well.

Iowa fell to 20-11 this year, 11-9 in the Big Ten, while Illinois moved to 21-10 and 13-7 in conference play. The Illini locked up a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, meaning Iowa will play on Thursday.

Here are five takeaways from Iowa’s loss to Illinois.

Iowa went nearly six minutes without a field goal in the second half

Iowa couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half. Joe Toussaint hit a shot at the 17:01 mark in the second half. The next Iowa field goal? A Luka Garza layup with 11:15 left. 5 minutes and 46 seconds without a field goal.

At one point, Iowa found itself down 16, and yet somehow, the Hawkeyes had a chance to win. Credit to this team’s fight.

Illinois schooled Iowa on the offensive glass

Illinois grabbed whatever it wanted on the offensive glass. The Illini finished with 11 offensive rebounds. It was a similar story to Iowa’s loss to Purdue. In the past two games, Iowa’s been out-rebounded on the offensive end 28-13.

Joe Toussaint looked great

For someone who isn’t first, second, third, or even fourth offensive option in the starting lineup, Toussaint finished with 14 points, which ties for the second-most points in a game for his career.

Toussaint was aggressive (as always) offensively, but he played under control for most of the game. He’s incredibly quick and seemingly relentless. Hopefully a sign of things to come for the postseason.

Ayo Dosunmu is legit

Dosunmu hit the biggest shot of the night late in the game.

With 31.1 seconds left, Dosunmu canned an ice-cold pull-up jumper with Bakari Evelyn’s hand in his face. The bucket pushed Illinois’ lead to four points.

He’d go on to miss the front end of a one-and-one, giving Iowa the ball back late in the game. Aside from that, it was a great performance for the Illini sophomore. He finished with 17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, and one steal.

Iowa and Illinois were both called for double technical fouls in the first half

It was truly a bizarre sequence. CJ Fredrick was called for an offensive foul after he appeared to shove Illinois’ Trent Frazier. Fredrick and Frazier exchanged words, resulting in a double technical foul — one on each player.

Meanwhile, at the top of the key, Connor McCaffery and Da’Monte Williams got into it. Williams threw an elbow at McCaffery, but missed. Then the two went face-to-face, likely sharing some not-so-nice words. Both picked up technicals.

Williams’ elbow swing was the biggest red flag here. There’s no place for that. Here’s a GIF of that, and I’d like to point out McCaffery doesn’t even flinch.

What’s next for Iowa baskeball?

The Hawkeyes will play the winner of Northwestern/Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa’s matchup with the winner will be on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT.