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Hawkeyes Top Illini 72-65

Iowa's Luka Garza (55) blocks a shot by Illinois' Kofi Cockburn (21) during the Hawkeyes' 72-65 win over the Illini Sunday in Iowa City.

The Iowa Hawkeyes beat the Illini men’s basketball team 72-65 yesterday in Iowa City.

Illinois led 59-55 with just over five minutes remaining in the game before Iowa closed the game on a 17-6 run. Coach Brad Underwood described the chain of events from that point.

“(We) commit a foul coming out of a timeout. I called the timeout specifically because I knew what play they were running,” Underwood said. “And then we have the one casual play we had all night against the press, throw it to them, and a four-point game switches, and you can’t be casual in a battle on the road in the Big Ten.”

Illinois coach Brad Underwood discusses a 72-65 loss at Iowa.

Iowa big man Luka Garza scored 25 points — including 4-9 from three-point range — and grabbed 10 rebounds. Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick each scored 18 for the Hawkeyes.

Andres Feliz led Illinois with 17 points. Trent Frazier added 12, and Ayo Dosunmu scored 11 for the Illini. Twin towers Kofi Cockburn and Giorgi Bezhanishvili were limited to 6 and 7 points, respectively.

Illinois’ Andres Feliz rips the ball away from Iowa’s Luka Garza during a 72-65 loss to the Hawkeyes Sunday in Iowa City. Rob McColley/for Illinois Public Media

Feliz shrugged off the loss, pointing out that his team is still tied for the lead in the Big Ten.

“I love my teammates, and I see them sacrifice for me, so I have to do it for them,” Feliz said. “I have no worries about my team. We’re going to be fine.”

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery discusses a 72-65 win over Illinois.

Illinois and Michigan State are now tied atop the conference standings at 8-3. Both teams are 16-6 overall. Three other teams, including Iowa, are within a game of first place.

Illinois returns to action Friday night when they host second-place Maryland. The Terrapins are 7-3 in the conference and 17-4 overall. Illinois lost at Maryland 59-58 on December 7. Friday’s game is sold out.

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