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Illinois beats Iowa 73-61 to close Big Ten regular season

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Terrence Shannon Jr. Quincy Guerrier had 25 points, 14 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 12 Illinois defeated Iowa 73-61 on Sunday.

The Illini (23-8, 14-6 Big Ten) jumped out to a big lead early, then pulled away late in the second half to allow the Hawkeyes (18-13, 10-10) to pull within 59-53 with 6:58 left. . Illinois, which finished three games behind Big Ten champion Purdue, will be in 2nd place in the rankings. This week’s Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis.

The Illini lost 77-71 to Purdue on Tuesday, and coach Brad Underwood said afterward that his team “practiced angry for a few days.”

“We made every drill competitive with consequences,” Underwood said. “Everything was so dialed in. Every mistake had consequences. happened making men understand the effort.”

This effort showed itself early. Illinois opened with a 17-2 run in the first 6 1/2 minutes as the Hawkeyes missed 13 of their first 14 shots.

“We did it just through effort,” Illinois center Dain Dainja said. “I think it’s because the last few days of practice have been really tough. We’ve locked down our defense again and it showed.”

The Illini led by 21 points before Iowa went on a 14-2 run, taking a 33-25 lead with 3:27 left in the half and trailing 39-29 at halftime.

“We just kept fighting,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We shot well. I wasn’t going to criticize anyone for the shots we made. I thought we shot well, moved the ball. It was frustrating for everyone.”

The Hawkeyes continued their dominance over Illinois in the second half and took the lead 51-47 with 11:15 left in the game. However, the Illini scored six points in 70 seconds, increasing the lead back to double digits and maintaining control from there.

“I think this group understands that teams, especially good teams, make runs,” Underwood said. “They just kind of did maintenance. We came together, everyone was positive, everyone was optimistic. “They were all saying the right things.”

Shannon scored 18 points in the first half, completing 10 of her 19 points from the field and hitting three 3-pointers.

Payton Sandfort led Iowa with 23 points, including 19 in the second half. Josh Dix had 13 points.

“We missed some shots that we normally make,” Sandfort said. “These things happen.”

Illinois held Iowa’s shooting rate to 35.4%.

“Our defense had really slipped the last few games,” Dainja said. “We’re really focused on that.”

Marcus Domask scored 11 points for the Illini.

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Illinois: The Illini dominated early, but a lull at the end of the first half and early in the second half allowed the Hawkeyes to get back into the game. Illinois controlled Iowa inside with a 50-33 rebounding advantage.

Underwood appreciated his team slowing down Iowa’s offense.

“They’re very explosive,” he said. “Even with an 18 or 20 point lead you never feel comfortable. I thought we were going to get some bite today.”

Iowa: The Hawkeyes, who were 5-5 in mid-December, have been in NCAA Tournament consideration in recent weeks but could use a win against a ranked opponent to close out the regular season.

Underwood said the Hawkeyes are an “NCAA-worthy” team.

“I think we have work to do,” McCaffery said. “I appreciate what Brad said and I think he’s right. We’ve had some tough wins in a really good league. … It’s not something we can leave to chance. We want to do some more damage.”


Illinois: The Big Ten Tournament opens Friday with play against either Iowa or Ohio State.

Iowa: It will open the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday against Ohio State.

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