Iowa 63, Illinois 55 — Final
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Devyn Marble scored 21 points and Iowa beat Illinois 63-55 on Tuesday night for its fifth win in seven games.
Josh Oglesby added 10 for the surging Hawkeyes (19-11, 8-9 Big Ten). They tied a school record with 12 blocked shots, including six from Gabe Olaseni off the bench.
Oglesby buried back-to-back three-pointers to turn a two-point lead into a 54-46 cushion with 3:19 left. D.J. Richardson then missed a dunk and Marble followed with a three-point play that put Iowa ahead by 11 with 1:39 to go.
Brandon Paul had 18 points to lead Illinois (21-10, 8-9), which lost for just the second time in eight games. The Illini shot just 28.6 percent from the field.
Perhaps Iowa's biggest issue has been its inconsistent shooting. But it's hard to remember the Hawkeyes shooting anywhere near as poorly as the Illini did for long stretches Tuesday.
Illinois missed 15 of its first 16 shots — a stretch of futility that included layups, mid-range jumpers and ill-fated threes as Iowa jumped ahead 15-4.
Still, the Illini fought their way back into it. They grabbed 10 offensive rebounds, turned it over just four times and pulled within 31-28 at halftime. But the issues that plagued Illinois to open the first half came back for the start of the second.
The Illini missed their first five attempts as Iowa moved back ahead 36-28, and they scored just three points in 8 minutes as the Hawkeyes stretched their lead to 41-31.
The Illini pulled within 48-46 before Oglesby, who had missed his first four threes, hit two straight from nearly the same spot.
Richardson had 13 for Illinois, which also hit just 10 of 17 free throws.
Though Illinois has beaten Gonzaga and Indiana, the top two teams in this week's AP Top 25, it will be seeded in the Big Ten tournament behind Iowa — still a long shot, at best, for the NCAA tournament — if the Hawkeyes beat Nebraska at home on Saturday.
Marble now has 998 career points. When he reaches 1,000, he'll join his dad, Roy Marble, as the only Big Ten father-son duo to each reach that total.
Iowa 41, Illinois 31 — 11:58 second half
Illinois turned the ball over four straight possessions early in the second half. The Illini were 0 for 4 from the floor with four turnovers at the first media timeout. Yet, they were still only down by five points.
Tyler Griffey had a nice blocked shot on Gabriel Olaseni early in the half. Don’t see those from Griffey too often.
It’s just not Joseph Bertrand’s night. He’s got four turnovers and was whistled for a foul on A Devyn Marble layup.
John Groce was looking for something to punch after his team’s shot-clock violation.
This not-even-close-to-full crowd got relatively loud after the shot-clock violation.
Every little kid in here stood up and did the “Gangham Style” dance during a timeout. Apparently that’s still a thing.
Iowa has blocked 12 Illinois shots tonight.
Iowa’s students are chanting “Overrated” at the unranked Illini. Iowa was favored by four or five points, too.
The Illini, who started 1 for 16 in the first half, are 1 for 12 here to start the second half.
Iowa 31, Illinois 28 — Halftime
Illinois started 1 for 16 from the floor on the road and somehow finds itself down by just three points here at the half. That’s really quite remarkable. Iowa has been careless with the ball and has missed some chances. That putback at the buzzer was a momentum-builder for the home team.
Nnanna Egwu’s short jumper at the 8:15 mark ended about an 11-minute stretch where the Illini didn’t record a field goal.
Believe it or not, this really could be much worse than it is. It kind of had the feel of that first game against Wisconsin except Iowa’s not exactly shooting the lights out. And Illinois finally woke up from its slumber.
After numerous defensive breakdowns, Groce switched back to the zone defense and the result was another Iowa turnover.
The zone defense was the turning point for the Illini as Iowa turned it over and missed shots.
Text I got from a friend “Iowa is brutal, they can’t be a tournament team, can they?” I think the Hawkeyes have to win out and get to Big Ten title game.
Illinois shot 9 for 34 (26.5 percent) from the floor and 3 for 15 (20 percent) from three.
Brandon Paul leads Illinois with seven points. Tyler Griffey has six on a pair of threes.
Iowa was 14 for 29 (48.3 percent) from the floor and 2 for 10 from three.
Woodbury has six. White and Clemmons each have five.
Each team has 21 rebounds. Illinois grabbed 10 offensive boards and has six second-chance points.
Iowa 9, Illinois 4 — 11:45 first half
Nnanna Egwu didn’t like the toss on the opening tip from Ed Hightower. Iowa won the tap.
Big-time play by Tracy Abrams on the opening offensive possession to find Sam McLaurin in the lane at the end of the clock. He’s starting to have better court awareness.
Illinois played a zone the third trip down the floor. Iowa got a layup, but Woodbury blew it.
John Groce was upset with the officials when Brandon Paul was fouled on a fasbreak. It was ruled on the floor. Groce thought BP should have gotten two free throws.
Eric May is absolutely loved by the home fans. They went nuts as the senior was announced in the starting lineup for the second time this season and his blocked shot early has provided the loudest cheer.
Joseph Bertrand has really struggled of late. He picked up his dribble on one of his early offensive possessions and it resulted in a turnover. He hurt them some early on the defensive end against Nebraska.
Iowa fans are calling Groce a baby for arguing with the officials after Abrams was called for a charge. Their coach threw a chair a couple years ago.
Illinois, shooting 1 for 12 (8.3 percent) is lucky to only be down by five points right now. Iowa blowing golden opportunities.
Illinois has four offensive rebounds and just one second-chance point.
Illinois (21-9, 8-8) at Iowa (18-11, 7-9) — Tipoff BTN
Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu will start tonight for the Illini.
Iowa will counter with Roy Devyn Marble, Eric May, Melsahn Basabe, Aaron White and Adam Woodbury
Don’t see many other Illinois media folks here yet. I sat and spoke with WCIA’s Matt Wettersten for a while before the game. He does a great job there.
Rob McColley from Smile Politely is also here. That’s it, so far. I wonder if the weather held some folks up.
The four sections behind the basket at which Iowa will shoot to start the game are almost completely empty.
Late-arriving crowd. Lots of orange here.
D.J. Richardson made a shot from just inside halfcourt at the end of warm-ups. Brandon Paul came up short a few times and never made one.
Iowa’s basketball slogan is “On the Rise”. The Hawkeyes take the floor to Jay-Z and Rihanna’s “Run This Town”.
Mike Gesell is wearing a suit and a walking boot on his right foot, greeting teammates under the basket in the layup line.
Illinois (21-9, 8-8) at Iowa (18-11, 7-9) — 30 minutes before tipoff BTN
There are a couple dozen folks dressed in orange and blue watching the Illini from the first couple of rows snapping photos of the team. There should be a decent number of Illinois fans here today.
I was at the mall in nearby Coralville today and saw a few people with Illinois gear walking around the mall.
Sam McLaurin looked good going through warm-ups, not walking or running with a noticeable limp. We’ll see how long he’s able to go tonight.
Illinois signee Austin Colbert, whose season ended Monday night with a loss to New Jersey power St. Patrick’s, was named to the Away team for the Jordan Classic’s New York-area regional game to be played on April 13 at the Barclays Center.
Colbert had 13 points and 16 rebounds in the loss to St. Pat’s. He plays on a team with guards who like to shoot a bunch of threes, so he doesn’t get a ton of touches. He’s not going to be expected to do a lot of scoring at Illinois. They want him to rebound, defend and run the floor. The scoring and such will take care of itself.
The IHSA Class 4A game between Simeon, with Illinois signees Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate, and DuSable at Argo has been postponed until tomorrow because of a winter storm.
The winner of that game gets the winner of Thursday’s game between Curie (Cliff Alexander) and Whitney Young (Jahlil Okafor).
A very young Iowa fan stood above the tunnel with his hand extended waiting for a Hawkeye to slap him a high-five. Devyn Marble slapped his hand. It looked like he opened the greatest Christmas present ever.
Derrick Burson just stopped by to inform me that my All-Big Ten ballot is due Sunday night. I feel like five spots are spoken for on the first team: Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Deshaun Thomas. Who’s the fifth guy? Tim Hardaway? Adreian Payne? An Illinois guy (D.J., Brandon).
Illinois (21-9, 8-8) at Iowa (18-11, 7-9) — 60 minutes before tipoff BTN
Sam McLaurin was on the floor later than the rest of his Illini teammates. He was in the locker room getting some extra treatment on that sprained right ankle.
I’d expect Sam and Nnanna Egwu to start in the frontcourt for the Illini tonight. Tracy Abrams, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul likely will get the nod in the backcourt.
Sam hasn’t run around too much yet. He’s getting good elevation on his jumpshot.
Got word this week that the Shootout at the Hall would be returning to the Assembly Hall in December with a new lead sponsor. Country Companies will be the title host for the event, which was moved to Parkland in 2011 and canceled last year because of some issues with the IHSA.
Champaign’s Centennial High School will host the event on Dec. 7.
Eight teams — Centennial, Geneva, Springfield Lanphier, Peoria Manual, Peoria Notre Dame, Mahomet-Seymour, Monticello and St. Joseph-Ogden — will be in the field. Centennial athletic director said he’s looking to add at least four more teams and maybe six to make it a seven-game event.
Myke Henry once played in the Shootout at the Hall when he was a senior at Chicago’s Orr High. Henry is starting to blossom for the Illini near the end of his sophomore season. He had a season-high 12 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in Saturday’s win against Nebraska.
Afterward, Groce credited assistant coach Dustin Ford with Henry’s development and said the two have a unique relationship.
Henry agreed, but couldn’t repeat many of Ford’s words of wisdom.
“I can’t say that on camera, but he’s on me most of the time,” Henry said. “He’s the person I can go to talk to.
“I like it. He was like that right away. He caught me off guard a little bit because I thought he was going to come in and be a nice guy, but it’s the complete opposite,” Henry said with a laugh.
“I guess I’m happy I’m playing good right now. It’s a good time, it’s March; the team needs me.”
Be back soon.
Illinois (21-9, 8-8) at Iowa (18-11, 7-9) — 90 minutes before tipoff BTN
Good evening from Carver-Hawkeye Arena, where there’s nothing but snow outside the building. Inside, it’s a dry 72 degrees and we’re anticipating some high-quality basketball in about an hour and a half.
Interesting matchup here as the Illini can clinch at least a .500 record in Big Ten play with a win. Who woulda thunk that a month ago when the team was 2-7 with No. 1 Indiana coming to town?
The Hawkeyes are playing for their NCAA tournament lives and are doing so without freshman point guard Mike Gesell, who’s out until at least the Big Ten tournament with a foot injury.
“We’re preparing as if he’s playing and we’ll make adjustments from there,” Illinois coach John Groce said. “He’s obviously a high-IQ guy, a really tough guy as I’ve watched him on film. He’s a really good jump shooter, does a great job running their team and appears to have a really bright future playing for them.”
The Illinois coach leaves nothing to chance.
Without Gesell, the Hawkeyes are going to play 6-foot-6 junior Roy Devyn Marble at the points.
He present a matchup problem for the Illini. D.J. Richardson or Brandon Paul could draw the assignment on Marble, but Tracy Abrams might also be asked to guard Marble, who has 5 inches on him.
“I just try to stay poised and just follow our defensive principles. He’s definitely got a big size advantage so I’ve got to do the little things, use my quickness and stuff like that,” Abrams said.
Melsahn Basabe was the first player from either team to take the floor. Mike LaTulip was the first Illini on the floor. D.J. Richardson joine dhim soon after.
There’s an older gentleman and his young grandson on the floor shooting. The old guy doesn’t miss. The kid, wearing a yellow Iowa t-shirt, is working on perfecting his handstand. He has no interest in Grandpa’s shooting prowess or working on his own basketball skills.
Iowa will wear white. Illinois will wear orange.
There are fans lined up outside the doors to get in. I’d say I walked past a few hundred of them. The snow has stopped, so it’s not too bad of a wait.
I’m hopping on the pregame show with Steve Kelly and Loren Tate with the wonderful Ed Bond producing. I’ll be back with another update soon.