Home / News / Coleman Hawkins scores a career-high 30 points to lead No. 12 Illinois to a 95-85 comeback win over Iowa – Chicago Tribune

Coleman Hawkins scores a career-high 30 points to lead No. 12 Illinois to a 95-85 comeback win over Iowa – Chicago Tribune


CHAMPAIGN — Coleman Hawkins scored a career-high 30 points and No. 12 Illinois rallied from a seven-point second-half deficit to beat Iowa 95-85 on Saturday for its 1,000th Big Ten win in program history.

Terrance Shannon Jr. for the Illini. and Justin Harmon scored 12 points each and Dain Dainja had 8 rebounds (20-7, 11-5).

Nico Moretti, who had gone scoreless in Illinois’ last three games, helped spark the rally by scoring eight points in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers. Moretti last scored against Michigan on January 18.

“You could say Nico is a coach’s kid,” Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. “He never asked me what he needed to do to play more. He shows up every day and works hard. I can assure you he didn’t know he would play 17 minutes today but he was ready.

“He is the best man on the team and this was an incredible team victory for us. “It wasn’t easy.”

It was a comeback game for Hawkins, who scored nine points, missed two free throws and fouled Penn State’s Zach Hicks on a 3-pointer in the final 13 seconds of Illinois’ 90-89 loss on Wednesday. Hicks’ three free throws with three seconds left won the game.

“What did I do to blow the Penn State game? I turned off social media, deleted some apps, and limited the people I talked to,” said Hawkins. “I basically had to be a man and own up to my mistakes.”

Josh Dix scored 20 points, Tony Perkins 18, Payton Sandfort 12, and Owen Freeman eight points and eight rebounds to give Iowa (16-12, 8-9) a 64-57 lead with 12 minutes, 15 seconds left. He failed to hold on in the second half.

“Hawkins shoots 3-pointers at the NBA level and can get the ball to the basket. He’s a tough guy to guard,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “And the bench players are good players. Give them credit. They played well.”

While Hawkins scored 13 points in the first nine minutes of the first half, Illinois closed the half ahead 44-43.

With the win, Illinois remains in second place in the conference, two games behind No. 3 Purdue (13-3) with four Big Ten games remaining.

The Illini have won 20 or more games in five straight seasons under Underwood. He is only the second Illinois coach to achieve this feat. Lou Henson won 20 or more games for nine consecutive seasons from 1983-91.

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Iowa: After back-to-back wins against Big Ten heavyweights Wisconsin and Michigan State, the Hawkeyes appear poised for a postseason run to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The loss derailed those plans, at least temporarily.

Illinois: The Illini defense has been porous this month and didn’t fare any better against an Iowa team that entered the game averaging 83.4 points and has reached 100 points four times this season. Illinois went 4-2 and gave up at least 80 points in five of its six games in February. Opponents had scored 83 or more points just four times in 20 games before February.


Iowa: It will host Penn State on Tuesday.

Illinois: It will host Minnesota on Wednesday.


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