The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s basketball’s winning streak comes to a close in Champaign against No. 12 Illinois

The Hawkeyes shot a scorching 62.1 percent from the field in the first half, but their offensive firepower dissipated over the final 20 minutes as the Illini took control.
Carly Schrum
Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery hold his head during a men’s basketball game between Minnesota and Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. The Gophers lead 51-38 at half (Carly Schrum/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa men’s basketball team’s recent hot streak came to an end Saturday afternoon in Champaign, as the Hawkeyes lost to No. 12 Illinois, 95-85, spoiling their chances at a third consecutive Quad 1 win to build their potential postseason resume. 

After a scorching first half saw head coach Fran McCaffery’s squad shoot 62.1 percent from the field, the Hawkeyes’ production dipped in the final 20 minutes, knocking down 35.3 percent of their shots as the Illini dominated in crunch time. 

Illinois senior forward Coleman Hawkins registered a career-high 30 points and a team-high five assists as head coach Brad Underwood’s team notched its 1,000th Big Ten win in program history. 

Leading the charge for Iowa was second-year guard Josh Dix, who piled up 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He was followed close behind by senior guard Tony Perkins, who was all over the stat sheet with 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. But their effort was not enough, as Iowa fell to 8-9 in conference play, placing them in a tie with Penn State for eighth place in the standings. 

Both Illinois and Iowa got off to a good start making their first two field goals. The Fighting Illini continued to roll through the play of the 6-foot-10 Hawkins as he logged 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first five minutes. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery decided to give Ladji Dembele an early appearance in place of the struggling Ben Krikke in hopes of slowing down Hawkins. 

But Iowa’s offense was clicking as well behind the play of Dix and Perkins. The two combined for 16 of the team’s 25 points through the first 11 minutes to help the Hawkeyes hold a two-point lead on Illinois.


The next couple minutes saw Dix, Krikke, Dembele, and Payton Sandfort all knock down shots as Iowa jumped out to a 39-34 lead with four minutes to go in the half. The Fighting Illini began to get going on both ends of the floor as they went on a 10-2 run to the last second of the half. 

Taking the ball out from underneath the hoop, forward Patrick McCaffery launched a quarterback-esque pass to a receiving Sandfort, nailing the shot at the buzzer to cut the score to 44-43 at the half. 


Though Iowa shot 61.2 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes, Illinois continued to remain in front through its volume of threes and second-chance buckets, reeling in seven triples and eight offensive rebounds in the first half. 

The momentum of the buzzer-beater carried over for the Hawkeyes to start the second half, as they tore their way to a quick 5-0 run. In response, Underwood removed all five of his starters for a brief period.

Iowa proceeded to have things go its way, continuously scoring at the cup on almost every possession. Krikke converted a tough shot over the defender inside the paint to push Iowa to a 63-57 lead with just over 12 minutes to go in the game. 

After scoring on four straight possessions, Iowa went scoreless for nearly five minutes as they missed seven straight shots. Despite this, the Hawkeyes remained in front by one through their defense as they held Illinois to no made field goals for over four minutes. 

But Illinois’ offense began to pick up steam as time continued to wind down. The score was tied at 75 before two quick Fighting Illini buckets – a downtown splash from guard Marcus Domask and a jumper from Justin Harmon – put them ahead by five.

From there, it was all Illinois as they hit on six of their next seven shots, including a transition dunk from Hawkins, as the Illini jumped out to a double-digit lead with two minutes to go in the game.

Hawkins, a Bleacher Report projected second-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, would go on to score 10 of Illinois’ final 20 points, as the Hawkeyes could only watch as their postseason hopes took another hit. 

Up next

After a week on the road, Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 27 for a matchup against Penn State. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. on Big Ten Network. The Nittany Lions own a 14-14 overall mark, including an 8-9 designation in conference play as of Saturday. Head coach Mike Rhoades’ squad has won their past two games, both home upsets against Illinois and Indiana.

Penn State and Iowa have already played each other once this season, with the Nittany Lions earning an 89-79 triumph on Feb. 8. Guard Adrian “Ace” Baldwin. Jr. led the scoring effort in that matchup, piling up 22. Baldwin is leading the team is assists and steals per game this season.

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About the Contributors
Chris Meglio
Chris Meglio, Sports Reporter
Chris Meglio is a first year student at the University of Iowa studying a double major in sport studies and journalism. He will be working as a sports journalist for The Daily Iowan covering women's volleyball for the fall sports season.
Carly Schrum
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.