Hawkeyes finally get over the hump
By TERRY TOWERY
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jordan Bohannon scored 29 points to help Iowa rally from a 20-point deficit for a 104-97 overtime win over Illinois on Thursday night.
It was Iowa’s second-largest comeback in school history. The biggest comeback was 22 points, also against Illinois in 1987. Thursday’s game marked the Hawkeyes’ first Big Ten victory, and dropped the Illini to 0-5 in conference play.
Bohannon’s three-pointer in overtime put the Hawkeyes up 99-90 and sealed the win.
“That shot by Jordan was the dagger,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “It was huge, no doubt.”
Iowa (10-9 overall, 1-5 in the Big Ten) outscored Illinois (10-8, 0-5) 14-7 in overtime after Illinois guard Trent Frazier sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
“Frazier is quite a player,” McCaffery said. “I really like him.”
So does Illinois coach Brad Underwood.
“Trent did a phenomenal job for us,” he said. “I just need to do a better job at halftime, find a way somehow. We gave up 63 points in the second half and overtime. Think about that. Sixty-three points. First half was fun to watch, not so much the second.”
Tyler Cook scored 21 points and Luka Garza added 19 for Iowa. Frazier led Illinois with a career-high 27 points, including seven 3-pointers, while Leron Black and Aaron Jordan added 18 points each.
Illinois, fueled by runs of 13-0 and 10-0 run early in the game, leaped to a 54-41 halftime lead and seemed headed to an easy home win. But Iowa outrebounded the Illini 46-26, including 20-9 in the second half, and outscored Illinois 33-11 from the free-throw line.
“What did I say at halftime?” McCaffery said after the game. “Well, nothing that smart. Stay the course. Climb back into the game. Work to get us back into the game. They did, and I am really proud of my guys tonight.”
Underwood was frustrated at Thursday’s loss, which came on the heels of tough road losses to Minnesota and Michigan. “I honestly don’t know,” he said, shaking his head. “I mean, I gotta figure this out. We’re just going to keep trying to figure this out. Losing is unacceptable. At some point, you gotta get tired of losing. You don’t accept losing. It’s not good.”
Iowa first took the lead 83-82, its first since 4-2, with 3:01 left in regulation on a three-point play by Luke Garza.
Iowa big man Garza essentially took over for Iowa in the final four minutes of regulation, scoring seven points to give Iowa the lead, which it held until Frazier’s buzzer-beater sent the game into overtime.
Jordan Bohannan’s 3-point dagger that essentially took the air out of the State Farm Center crowd, not to mention the Illinois team, coaches and bench. The sophomore went 5 of 12 from 3-point range, but none were bigger than that one.
Frazier’s 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime was so close the referees spent nearly two minutes studying the replay before awarding Frazier his basket, at which point State Farm Center exploded in cheers.
Iowa travels to Rutgers on Wednesday
Illinois plays at Nebraska on Monday.