LIVE! Iowa

LIVE! Iowa

CHAMPAIGN — Trent Frazier gave Illinois a chance with his wild, buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of regulation, but it was all Iowa in overtime as the Hawkeyes finished off their comeback for a 104-97 victory on Thursday night at State Farm Center.

Frazier led Illinois with 27 points and was one of four Illini in double figures. Aaron Jordan and Leron Black scored 18 points apiece, and Kipper Nichols finished with 13 points.

The loss keeps Illinois winless in the Big Ten. The Illini will return to action Monday at Nebraska. Be sure to check out Friday's News-Gazette and right here at for more from the game.


Illinois 77, Iowa 74 — 8:00 left in 2nd half

Since it's a three-point game again, a few stats that don't exactly play in Illinois' favor ...

— Michael Finke has one rebound. Suffice it to say, Brad Underwood mentioned that to the Illini forward.

— Iowa is shooting 63.2 percent from the field in the second half.

— Illinois is 12 of 17 on layups. The Hawkeyes are 11 of 12.

— Not a stat, but Jordan Bohannon is feeling it. The Iowa point guard missed a couple heat check threes, but he's going to keep shooting if he's open and he's been open enough.

— Also not a stat, but Kipper Nichols completely missed a wide open Aaron Jordan in the corner for a three-pointer. Underwood flipped out.


Illinois 64, Iowa 59 — 13:40 left in 2nd half

Consider the halftime score below. In the last 6:20 of game time, Iowa has outscored Illinois 18-10. At one point following a 10-0 run to start the second half, the Hawkeyes were a three-pointer away from tying this thing up. One of these days Illinois will play a full 40 minutes of the type of basketball Brad Underwood wants. Today is not that day.

So it's a ball game again, and the Illini are still doing very little to slow Iowa's Tyler Cook down. It's one thing to let Cook go off when you're leading by double figures. It's another thing altogether (that does not bode well for Illinois) in a close game.


Illinois 54, Iowa 41 — Halftime

Think for a minute what Illinois' halftime lead could look like had the Illini not committed 13 fouls and Iowa hadn't turned that into 14 of 14 free throw shooting. Illinois would certainly have a bigger lead than 13 points. Free throws were the only thing that kept the Hawkeyes in the game. 

Because Iowa's still in this thing. Tyler Cook did about whatever he wanted and finished the first half with 14 points and six rebounds. The Illini didn't have much answer for Jordan Bohannon either, and the Hawkeyes point guard had 15 first half points.

Of course, it wasn't all doom and gloom. Illinois does lead by 13 points, as Trent Frazier (13), Kipper Nichols (11) and Aaron Jordan (also 11) all had big first half scoring performances.


Illinois 49, Iowa 31 — 3:30 left in 1st half

The Illini have made their last four shots and lead by 18 points, but their lead could be quite a bit bigger. For all the good looks Illinois is getting offensively, Iowa is taking advantage of some of its own. The Illini had the Hawkeyes locked down tight to start the game. Not so much at the moment, and letting Tyler Cook dunk everything isn't a good idea — because he'll do it. Still, Illinois is shooting 60 percent overall and 73 percent from three-point range. That's a heck of a long way from making just one of its first 20 shots at Minnesota.


Illinois 36, Iowa 19 — 7:11 left in 1st half

Kipper Nichols scored 11 points total in the final four games of 2017. The Illini redshirt sophomore forward has 11 points already in the first half against Iowa. He still makes things more difficult than they need to be around the basket — an attempt at flash instead of power — but he's 3 of 5 from the field and has hit all four of his free throws. A couple rebounds, too, in his 8 minutes of action is a continuation of his breakthrough performance at Michigan on Saturday.


Illinois 24, Iowa 13 — 11:34 left in 1st half

It's amazing what's possible when shots are falling. Illinois missed each and every one of its three-pointers the last ohalf of basketball it played at Michigan. Tonight? The Illini are 3 of 4 from beyond the arc, and three different players — Aaron Jordan, Da'Monte Williams and Kipper Nichols — have made one from deep. Those latter two making three-pointers is notable in particular. But I suppose so is Jordan. He hasn't been quite as hot from deep of late.


Illinois vs. Iowa — 7 p.m., FS1

Another change in Illinois' starting lineup tonight against the Hawkeyes with Da'Monte Williams replacing Mark Smith. Was that already planned? Is it a response to Te'Jon Lucas not being available because of his team rules violation? Both could be the case. Williams has played well, well, all season. But Smith having to run the point more with no Lucas might have meant Brad Underwood wanted to be able to bring a point guard off the bench with the second group.


Illinois vs. Iowa — 7 p.m., FS1

Somebody's going to win their first Big Ten game tonight. That's all anyone can be certain about as tipoff approaches here at State Farm Center. 

"It’s conference play," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "We’ve had an opportunity in each one of our four games. They’ve had an opportunity in a lot. We’re both looking for consistency. I think we all want to win. I think our locker room has a bunch of guys in it that want to win. I just don’t know yet if we expect to win, and there’s a big difference.

"Expectation is swagger, it’s confidence. Nothing is given. Everything is earned, and you’ve got to go get it. You’ve got to go take it. We’ve proven we can play with anybody, anywhere, and I say anywhere because we’ve hardly been at home. It’s something we’ve got to go take. No one’s giving us anything."


Illinois vs. Iowa — 7 p.m., FS1

Brad Underwood sees Iowa as a team that is fairly similar to his own. The Hawkeyes like to get out and run. In an ideal world, that's what Underwood wants from the Illini, too. How those worlds collide tonight is something that has Underwood's attention.

"We’re going to find out," he said. "I think the one thing that they do is they do a great job of pitching the ball ahead. They’re always skilled. They can always shoot it. I’ve enjoyed watching them play because they’re deep. They’re playing 10-11 guys.

"They do it around Tyler Cook — and Tyler’s good — but you’ve got to have depth to play the way they’re playing and make shots. We worked quite a bit today on our transition defense."


Illinois vs. Iowa — 7 p.m., FS1

Illinois point guard Te'Jon Lucas is in street clothes tonight, and it's not because he's been afflicted with the flu bug that's run through basically the entire Illini basketball program. Lucas will sit against Iowa after a violation of team rules according to a team spokesman.

Point guard duties will fall even more to Trent Frazier, while fellow freshman guard Mark Smith could see an uptick in his responsibilities there.


It was only 13 days ago that Illinois played at State Farm Center. Not even two full weeks. But with trips to Minneapolis and Ann Arbor last week — plus two more Big Ten losses — it seems like a lifetime ago the Illini beat Grand Canyon in their nonconference finale. But, if we're being honest, it was last year.

Of more pressing concern than bad jokes as the LIVE! Report returns for another Illinois basketball game — at least for the Illini — is that first Big Ten win for Brad Underwood. It remains elusive.

One team, though, will leave the ranks of winless Big Ten teams tonight. Illinois and Iowa are the last two standing in that regard. Even Rutgers, no stranger to the bottom of the Big Ten, has a conference win already. 

So that's what's on the line with tipoff an hour away at 7 p.m. here at "The Farm" between the Illini (10-7, 0-4 Big Ten) and Hawkeyes (9-9, 0-5).

Meanwhile, there's plenty to keep you occupied before the game starts. So be sure to check out all we had to offer this week at ...

A different kind of ranking for the Big Ten's coaches

Lineups, storylines and the beat writer's pick for tonight's game

Illinois and United Way of Champaign teaming up

Illinois HOF coach Lou Henson a big influence on Tom Michael

Chin Coleman doesn't lack for confidence and wants same from Illini

Two more offers as future recruiting continues

Without a doubt, Da'Monte Williams carves out niche on Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Da'Monte Williams arrived in Champaign last June just six months removed from a knee injury and subsequent surgery that ended his senior season at Peoria Manual after just four games.

Williams also began his Illinois basketball career not knowing if he'd play this season. In fact, he was pretty sure he'd redshirt. His surgically-repaired knee just didn't feel right.

"I thought my knee wouldn't be 100 percent," Williams said. "I wasn't where I was supposed to be, I felt, but I just put that in the back of my mind and kept pushing every day. ... It's a tough, long process. It may take up to a year. You just never know how your knee is feeling."

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griff507 wrote on January 11, 2018 at 9:01 pm

Okay, I am done!  Not going to waste my time and energy watching Illini sports any more this year!

Until this BB team wins a big 10 game I am done!

Same for Lovie and his boys, not wasting my time until the win a big 10 game! 

And I am sure not going to throw money at this laughing stock of the big 10 "athletic department"!

Go Illini, but you need to go without me!