As if it wasn’t already bad enough.
The Iowa Hawkeyes had lost four of five; they can’t even get past the Illinois Fighting Illini; and the Hawkeyes are now losers of five of their last six.
It was ugly from the get go as Iowa found themselves down 20-6 with 6 minutes gone in the first half. Senior Zach McCabe would then knock down a three pointer that sparked the Hawkeyes. A 15-1 run over the course of the next 6 minutes brought Iowa back even with the Illini.
The run wasn’t sparked by likely parties either. A couple of assists from freshman Peter Jok and 6 points from junior Aaron White were big reasons why Iowa was able to claw back into the game. When the half was done, the Hawkeyes led 34-29. If it weren’t for an 8 minute span where Illinois didn’t make a field goal, the halftime score may have been different.
Both teams came out of the half with hot shooting. The Illini nailed a couple of three pointers and Iowa got buckets from Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell. Where the game turned was the 11:17 mark. Gabe Olaseni nailed an elbow jumper to put the Hawkeyes up by 6. Everyone is thinking, this is it, here is where they make their run. Iowa had Illinois pinned, they just needed to step on the neck.
Iowa didn’t score for five minutes and the Illini went on an 11-0 run to reclaim the lead. The Hawkeyes would tie it at 59, but a couple of turnovers led to buckets for the Illini. With around a minute left, Roy Devyn Marble put the Hawkeyes down two with a drive to the hoop and a bucket. Then after two timeouts used by the Illini, Mike Gesell would get a steal that would eventually lead to a bucket that would tie it at 63.
The Illini had the ball, but there was still a difference between the shot clock and game clock. Gesell would commit a foul that was just Iowa’s sixth, so no free throws, but now the Illini could hold for the last shot. Tracy Abrams seemed caught, but got the ball to Jon Ekey who hoisted a long three pointer and got it. Zach McCabe’s inbound pass would get stolen and the Hawkeyes found themselves on the losing end.
This now ensures Iowa will be playing on Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament this upcoming week. They will be the 5 or the 6 depending on Sunday’s Big Ten results.
Either way, it isn’t looking promising for a struggling Hawkeye team.