Iowa Basketball: Hawks Battle Back For First Big Ten Win

Dec 23 2017 St. Louis MO USA Illinois Fighting Illini guard Trent Frazier celebrates after the Illini defeated the Missouri Tigers at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It was a collective sigh of relief from the Iowa basketball team. 3-Point Goals-Iowa 7-24 (Bohannon 5-12, Baer 2-5, Garza 0-1, Dailey 0-1, Cook 0-1, Moss 0-4), IL 14-30 (Frazier 7-11, Jordan 4-8, Williams 1-2, Nichols 1-2, Alstork 1-2, Smith 0-2, Finke 0-3).

The Iowa Hawkeyes (9-9) have lost their last three games including and 91-73 defeat from Maryland in which Isaiah Moss scored 25 points in 10 of 16 shooting from the field. Iowa moves to 10-9 overall, 1-5 in Big Ten action. Their 14 of 14 mark from the line in the first half kept them in the game.

It took the Hawkeyes 2 minutes, 11 seconds to rip off 10 unanswered points to begin the second half, slicing the once-comfortable Illini lead to 54-51.

"That's a good team", SIUE Head coach Jon Harris said of the Bruins. They're very much like us in terms of they want to play fast. It will be talked about like all bad memories that just won't go away.

IL rode Black for 14 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but he picked up his fourth foul with 9:27 left and took a seat again with IL up 74-72.

After Illinois freshman point guard Trent Frazier rattled home a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime, Iowa scored the first 10 points of the extra session to gain control.

Cook said he looked around at his teammates' eyes in the huddle prior to the overtime period and knew the game was in hand. "All we talked about at halftime was opening the first four-minute war trying to compete and guard and do what we'd just done".

But that was the last punch landed for IL (10-8, 0-5). They never had a chance.

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The Illinois Fighting Illini (10-7) are riding in a two-game losing streak including a 79-69 loss to MI in which Kipper Nichols scored 17 points in 6-for-11 shooting from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

So does IL coach Brad Underwood. But less than three minutes into the second half, the Hawkeyes changed that tune with emphasis. Each team has only one win in the Big Ten.

Sophomore forward Cordell Pemsl's layup with 12:06 left pulled Iowa even at 66-66 - the game's first tie since 4-4 as the Hawkeyes needed less than 12 minutes to erase Illinois' 20-point lead. Leron Black only played 20 minutes, scoring seven points at MI on Saturday.

"Nothing that smart, " he said. Stay the course. Climb back into the game. In the second half, Garza was the X-factor.

But even before the first half ended, Illinois' defense was springing leaks.

Iowa outscored the Fighting Illini, 14-7, in the bonus frame after Illinois' Trent Frazier hit a runner from 3-point range with under a second remaining to send the game to overtime. "They're a team that will press us a little bit. They had been kicking our butts in terms of that, outhustling us and stuff like that, and we weren't going to let it happen anymore".

Jordan Bohannon tallied a team-high 29 points. Garza made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left to give the Hawkeyes a 90-87 cushion, but Frazier dribbled up the right side and threw in the tying shot as the horn sounded.

Iowa deserves a lot of credit for continuing to play hard and battling back from a 20 point deficit on the road. The only larger comeback was a rally from a 22-point margin in a 1987 game in Champaign.

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