Iowa men’s basketball guard Tony Perkins notches career-high 32 points in win over Illinois

The Indianapolis, Indiana, native shot 15-for-16 from the free-throw line.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa guard Tony Perkins takes a shot during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Illinois at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. Perkins scored 32 points. The Hawkeyes defeated the Illini, 81-79.

Colin Votzmeyer, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s basketball guard Tony Perkins scored a career-high 32 points in an 81-79 win over Illinois Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. 

The Indianapolis, Indiana, native’s performance bested his previous high of 22 points, which he secured in a win over Maryland on Jan. 15.

Against the Illini, Perkins went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line — only missing his final attempt — and 8-for-11 from the field. 

RELATED: Iowa men’s basketball outlasts Illinois

Twenty-five of Perkins’ points came in the second half, including all of his free throw attempts. 

“When the second half came, we started off slow, so then I was like … ‘Okay, we’ve got to score some points. Let me go ahead and go back to work,’” Perkins said. “Shots started falling, and we went off of that.”

In the second half, Perkins converted 5-of-6 field goal attempts and drew nine fouls on Illinois defenders. 

Coach Fran [McCaffery] just said keep attacking, keep attacking, because they were playing drop coverage,” Perkins said. “‘So just come off [the screen] the big man is going to come up, throw it to Filip [Rebraca] or just attack the big man, draw fouls.”

McCaffery said he was pleased his team realized Perkins was hot and made sure to get him the ball as much as possible. 

“It was, ‘OK, this guy’s cooking,’” McCaffery said of Perkins. “What was impressive to me about that was the players that were on the floor with him, they’re yelling out plays to me that we should be running for him … I’ve been doing this a long time, I haven’t had too many guys go off like that. That was impressive.”

Prior to his 15-for-16 performance from the charity stripe Saturday, the junior’s best free throw shooting game of the season was 9-for-10 against Clemson on Nov. 25. Against Illinois, he tied an Iowa record for consecutive free throws made in a game.

“I should’ve broken it,” Perkins said. “I was a good free throw shooter last year, so I don’t really look at it like it bothers me. I just get up, shoot, and if it goes in,  it goes in.”

Iowa junior forward Kris Murray — who added 19 points — called Perkins’ game “gutsy.”

“We knew that he had that in him, being able to take games over like that,” Murray said. “He took it upon himself, and we just kept going to him, and it kept working. [He’s]just a guy that we know we can trust down the stretch to be able to finish … I think it gets everyone else going when he’s playing like that. [We] just feed off of his energy because he brings a lot of it, especially when he gets it going like that.”

Perkins only made one 3-pointer on the night, and only attempted two. Most of his non-free throw points came on drives to the rim or pull-up midrange jump shots. 

“When he’s getting his mid-range shots going like that, it’s hard to stop him,” Murray said. “If you take that away, he’s getting to the basket. He can get it going from three too.”

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