clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Illinois 80, Iowa 75: Locked Down

That stunk

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Your Iowa Hawkeyes fell short in a teetering affair that featured 22 lead changes, 80-75.

With CJ Fredrick out from a lingering injury from the Indiana game, Keegan Murray got the start. And we got yet another glimpse of this team’s bright future in his 8 point 8 board night.

But we’re here to talk about tonight, not the future.

Iowa and Illinois traded blows, keeping the score within reach the first 10 minutes of the game. The Hawkeyes built an 8-0 run to finally amass a 6 point lead, the largest of the night.

Connor McCaffrey was looking like he was on was his way to having the best game of his career with an early 3 and a couple other made lay-ups, stuffing the stat sheet in the absence of CJF.

Then the combination of Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier went on to make a whole bunch of shots, giving Iowa fits the rest of the game.

Dosunmu and Luka Garza traded threes with under two minutes to go in the first frame to give Iowa a one point lead. But then came the game’s encapsulating moment:

A truly bizarre sequence closed out the half, one where Trent Frazier heaved up a 3 on a prayer to give his team the lead at half.

The haters and losers who have their finger on the trigger of Big Ten Twitter don’t want you to know what lead to that dumb moment, however.

A lame heave from Bohannon wouldn’t sink as time expired, and the Illini held a 43-41 at the break.

It wouldn’t be the last time a bizarre break broke for Big Bad Brad Underwood’s team.

Iowa amassed a sexy 11-2 run early in the second to get out of a hole and grab a 52-50 lead. It was during this span that Jordan Bohannon made his first shot of the game, and there was a hope the lightbulb would turn on for him as it has so many times before.

What we saw instead was a mucked up affair and a lot more Ayo Dosunmu. And Trent Frazier.

But even with Garza on the bench for over seven minutes with 3 fouls, Jack Nunge and the rest of Iowa kept the team afloat, with 3’s from Joe Wieskamp, dime drops from Joe Toussaint and blocks from Nunge.

Even better, Iowa found itself in a favorable foul situation, drawing 7 fouls with 13 minutes left to play in the game.

The Hawkeyes got to the line approximately once during that span, as Illinois played the final 10 minutes and change without getting whistled once.

That more or less doomed the Hawkeyes, without its stable of reliable deep threats and a foul-plagued Garzilla on the bench. Frazier and Dosunmu shooting a combined on 7-12 from range hurt too.

Iowa was further gashed towards the end when a goal tend on Kofi Cockburn was waved off even though Wieskamp made the put back, and Iowa found itself down five with just over 2 minutes to play.

Jacob Grandison then nailed a corner three, and just about put it away. A Bohannon made 3 and an Illinois turnover kept it interesting, but Bohannon couldn’t nail the game-tying shot the following possession, and that was that.

Look, it’s been over a week since Iowa last played. No Fredrick hurts, and the officiating was suspect at best. It’s easy to pick at the exposed scabs of this Iowa team right now, but the reality is there’s seven games on the schedule over the next 21 days and this is the kind of stretch where a team like this can build world-beating momentum, especially if it gets back to full strength.

Was I worried after the Minnesota loss? No. Was I worried after the Indiana loss? No. And until further notice, consider me not worried.

Ed. note: Now with podcast