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Big Ten Sunday Recap: The Iowa Hawkeyes Hold Off the Pesky Illinois Fighting Illini 77-65

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BTPowerhouse recaps Sunday’s contest between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

In the lone contest in the Big Ten on Sunday, the Illinois Fighting Illini played host to the fifth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The Fighting Illini entered the game on the heels of an exhausting 110-101 triple overtime victory against Rutgers on February 3rd. The Hawkeyes looked to replicate their 73-49 win against Penn State last Wednesday and used a well-rounded team performance to give them their third consecutive victory.

Let's see how the action played out.

Game of the Night: Iowa Hawkeyes 77, Illinois Fighting Illini 65

The Iowa Hawkeyes looked to add on to their current two game winning streak and started off the game with an impressive defensive performance, as Illinois couldn't convert inside the three point line.

Illinois started off well from distance thanks in large part to freshman guard Jalen Coleman-Lands nailing two quick three pointers to help keep pace with Iowa's shooting. After a back and forth tussle for the first four minutes, the Hawkeyes claimed a 7-6 lead heading into the under-16 timeout.

The Hawkeyes forced Illini coach John Groce to call a quick 30 second timeout due to an Iowa 4-0 run to build the lead to 11-6, and then proceeded to turn out a 10-0 run. The three point shooting of Malcolm Hill and Jalen Coleman Lands ended the Hawkeye run and cut the Iowa lead to 16-12 by the under-12 media timeout.

After a brutal start from inside the three point line, Illinois big man Maverick Morgan gave the Illini their first field goal with 8:33 left in the first half. Iowa managed to hold a 10 point lead at the under-8 timeout and ultimately took at 38-29 lead into halftime. Iowa had a great defensive game plan on Illini guard Kendrick Nunn, as the Simeon (IL) product only produced two points in the half thanks to his buzzer beating mid range shot.

Iowa guard Peter Jok started the second half on fire for Iowa with a quick seven points and making an impact on the defensive end as well with a steal that transitioned to a dunk to help increase the Iowa lead to 48-36.

Illinois began to derail even further when the Big Ten's leading scorer Malcolm Hill picked up his fourth foul with 14:16 left in the game. Hill had the tough tasking of matching up with Hawkeye senior Jarrod Uthoff who seemingly had his way against the Illini defense, especially with Hill on the bench.

Freshman guard/forward D.J. Williams helped spark the Illini with the absence of Malcolm Hill, as he helped cut the Iowa lead down to 65-53, but Iowa never faltered as they came away with the 77-65 victory.

Iowa catapulted to 19-4 overall and 10-1 in the conference thanks to four starters scoring in double figures. The Hawkeyes were led by Peter Jok's 23 points on 7-for-18 shooting from the field. Senior Jarrod Uthoff notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Fellow senior big man Adam Woodbury continued his impressive play in the conference with another double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Senior guard Anthony Clemmons logged the most minutes for the Hawkeyes with 37 and managed to pour in 10 points six rebounds, two assists and four steals. Iowa dominated the glass by out rebounding Illinois 43-32, which helped dominate the second-chance points column. Iowa will be back in action on Thursday as they travel to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers. The game will tipoff at 9 p.m. EST and be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Illinois suffered from an abysmal shooting performance, as they shot 39.4 percent as a team from the field. Freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands led the way with 17 points - 15 of which came from behind the arc. Malcolm Hill notched 14 points and Maverick Morgan contributed 10 points and seven rebounds. The Illini are on a six day break before they travel to Evanston, Illinois for a bout with Northwestern on Saturday, February 13. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 8 p.m..