Hawkeyes top Illini in top-25 matchup

Iowa made the clutch shots it needed to take down Illinois in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday.


Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

The Iowa men’s basketball team found its way back into the win column on Sunday, beating Illinois 72-65 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Although the victories are nothing new for the Hawkeyes, they had to go about this one in a different way than usual.

The Illini kept Luka Garza — the Big Ten’s leading scorer who entered the game averaging 23 points per game — scoreless through the first 15 minutes.

But Garza came alive.

With Iowa facing an eight-point deficit, Garza converted an and-one to give the Hawkeyes a spark. Then came a 3-pointer. Then another bucket in close.

After one more score, Garza had helped Iowa to a 13-2 run that included five made field goals by the Hawkeyes. Garza scored four of those.

The Washington D.C. native finished with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including a 4-of-9 mark from beyond the arc.

Despite the run, Iowa trailed 31-30 entering the break.

Garza, CJ Fredrick, and Connor McCaffery took the reins the rest of the way. Like Garza, Fredrick hit a clutch 3 early in the second half to spark a Hawkeye run.

Down 62-61, McCaffery drained his third 3-pointer of the game to put Iowa in front with just over three minutes to go.

Fredrick and Wieskamp both finished with 18 points.

Iowa will play Purdue on a one-game road trip in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Wednesday.