Illinois holds on for stunning 68-66 upset of No. 20 Iowa
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Illinois thought it had Thursday's upset all wrapped with 3 minutes to go.
Then the Fighting Illini suddenly unraveled.
They blew an 11-point lead in 98 seconds before getting a tie-breaking 16-foot jumper from Malcolm Hill with 1:14 to go and held on to upset No. 20 Iowa 68-66 in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
''I had an awful game, probably one of my worst games of the year,'' Hill said after making only 2 of 9 shots. ''To be able to know my teammates and coaches have confidence to give me the ball in that situation, it makes it that much easier to make plays for this team.''
The big shot he made, though, gave Illinois (15-18) its second consecutive win and a ticket into Friday's quarterfinal round.
It was an implausible finish to a wild game that had a little bit of everything.
Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 points and broke the school's freshman record for 3-pointers by going 5 of 10. He has 87 this season, two more than Cory Bradford in 1999, including the last one giving the Illini the 11-point lead. Kendrick Nunn added 16 points.
On defense, Illinois was even better. It limited Iowa to 40.3 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers against a team that averaged just 11.1 this season before coming unglued in the final moments.
''We played ridiculously hard,'' coach John Groce said.
And they needed every ounce of effort to hold on.
The resurgent Hawkeyes (21-10) pulled a page out of Reggie Miller's playbook by taking advantage of two fouls and an Illinois turnover to give themselves a second chance.
Jarrod Uthoff got the rally started with a 3-point play, an offensive rebound led to a dunk by Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl knocked down a 3-pointer and Baer's 3-point play with 1:40 left tied the score at 66.
But the Hawkeyes didn't score again and wound up throwing the ball away on an inbound pass from underneath their own basket with 2.6 seconds to go.
Peter Jok matched his career high with 29 points before fouling out with 4:02 to play following a replay review. Uthoff scored 21 as the Hawkeyes lost for fifth time in six games.
''I think this game was different in that at least we fought back,'' Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said when asked to compare this loss with a tourney loss in 2014. ''Hill made a tough shot. Jarrod is right in his face, so you have to give him credit there.''
THREE FOR ONE
One day after setting a Big Ten tournament record by making 14 3s, the Illini were back at it Thursday. They wound up 10 of 23 from beyond the arc and are now 24 of 49 through two games in Indianapolis. Illinois is shooting 50 percent from the field overall during the first two days, too.
Jok had a strange day. He scored 15 points in a 20-6 run in the first half, which allowed the Hawkeyes to take a 33-30 lead. He opened the second half by scoring 10 of Iowa's first 12 points and looked like he would threaten Michael Thompson's single-game tourney scoring record (35 in 2011). Instead, he got into foul trouble and made only one more basket.
THE WAITING GAME
Iowa must wait to see how much its late-season swoon will hurt it in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Just a couple of weeks ago, Iowa was in position to win the Big Ten's regular-season title. While the Hawkeyes are still expected to make the 68-team field, their seeding could take a significant hit after they went 2-6 in their last eight.
Fighting Illini: Improved to 2-6 this season against Top 25 teams. ... Nunn became the 48th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark, finishing the game with 1,005. ... Hill had six points, leaving him two short of becoming the first Illinois player to record 600 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in one season.
Hawkeyes: Had beaten Illinois six of the previous seven games in this series. ... Iowa shot 40.3 percent from the field but had a 40-30 rebounding edge including a 16-8 advantage in offensive rebounds. ... Baer finished with eight points and was the only player other than Jok or Uthoff to score more than three. ... Jok fouled out after the officials assessed a double technical foul because of a shoving incident under the Hawkeyes basket.
Fighting Illini: Face No. 13 Purdue in the second Big Ten quarterfinal game Friday.
Hawkeyes: Will wait to see who and where they play in the postseason.