Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Down 20, Iowa comes back to beat IL in overtime

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 Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Vargas | 15 January, 2018, 02:04

Iowa was down by as much as 20 points Thursday night against IL. In two of the last three conference games, whenever he's gone off the floor, Iowa's offense disappeared.

It was Iowa's second-largest road comeback in program history. With 3:53 left in the first half, Iowa trailed 49-29 but Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon helped bring the Hawkeyes all the way back for an overtime victory.

Frazier paced IL with 27 points, making 10-of-20 field goals, including seven 3-pointers. After averaging a pedestrian 1.05 points per possession in the first half, Iowa took advantage of Illinois's lax defense to the tune of 1.485 points per possession in the second.

The performance early on was reminiscent of many previous games for Iowa. But Iowa outrebounded the Illini 46-26, including 20-9 in the second half, and outscored IL 33-11 from the free-throw line.

An Illini team that had shot 24.7 percent from 3-point range in four Big Ten games was suddenly hot, making 9 of 15 3s in the first half.

The loss drops Illinois' season record to 10-8.

IL led 54-41 at halftime.

Leron Black did his best to keep the game within Illinois's grasp, with 8 points in the first 8 minutes of the half, but Iowa tied the game at 12:06.

Meanwhile, Ryan Kriener sparked Iowa in the second half off the bench.

IL finally got an extra chance thanks to Frazier's improbable 3 at the buzzer to force an extra period.

IL needed a miracle to get the game to overtime and got one when Trent Frazier hit a body-twisting, off-balance 3 from in front of the Illini bench as time expired. The Fighting Illini lead 62-16 in games played in Champaign and 85-71 overall.

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Both teams are in fairly dire need of a win simply to escape what is now a shared Big Ten cellar.

Freshman forward Greg Eboigbodin played a career-high 25 minutes, his third straight game playing a career-high minutes. Nichols output could have been more spaced out, though, as he would only score 2 more points before fouling out with 5 seconds left in regulation. Te'Jon Lucas, the sophomore point guard, didn't even suit up, sitting out with a suspension for what Underwood called an unspecified violation of team rules. Defensively, Iowa basketball yields 75.0 points against the opposing teams. McCaffery said after the game.

IL is 4-2 ATS at home with 4 unders and 2 overs.

The Panthers shot 40 percent from the field and 77.8 percent from the line leading for majority of the game.

Offensively, the best thing IL has going is the offensive glass, where the Illini rank No. 6 in the nation in offensive rebound percentage at 37.9 percent. "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". He could be eligible for the second semester of next season. Like Iowa, it struggled with turnovers. TSU scored 28 points to the Panthers 26 points off turnovers. Black and Aaron Jordan added 18 points each. Jennifer Nehls neared a double-double as she was the fourth Panther to reach double-figures with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Four players average in double figures for Iowa. Taylor Roberts scored 18 points with seven rebounds.

The Washingon, D.C., native scored 17 of his 19 points in second half and overtime and he grabbed six more rebounds to finish off his third double-double of the season. Griffin added 11 points for TSU.

Iowa managed to secure the win despite losing the turnover battle, 17-14, and only recording 14 assists (Illinois dished out 22 dimes).

Thanks to a quick getaway, Belmont improved to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in the OVC. "Belmont is very good at what they do and very sound". On the season, Iowa has defeated opponents by an average of 5.7 points.

"Frazier is quite a player", McCaffery said. He had played well up until that point, and he was looking for the opportunity. As the ball went in, Illini coach Brad Underwood threw an imaginary right cross with his fist, putting an exclamation point on the improbable basket.

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