Sick feeling

Sick feeling

What does AD Josh Whitman think of the losing streak? He joins WDWS Saturday at 10.

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois now stands alone.

Winless in the Big Ten. An 0-5 start to conference play for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

A 20-point lead late in the first half appeared to be pointing to a path away from that distinction. Illinois locked up Iowa defensively early. Made shots kept that lead growing.

But a full 40 minutes of consistent play remains elusive, seemingly beyond Illinois' grasp at this point in the season. Iowa made quick work of its double-digit halftime deficit. Even given a second chance in overtime after Trent Frazier's game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation, the Illini faltered.

Iowa escaped the bottom of the Big Ten with a 104-97 overtime victory, leaving the Illini all alone there.

"I guess kind of the same song, second verse — or third or fourth or fifth," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "I don't know what I've got to do at halftime, but we've gone from the start of the game now to halftime. We gave up 63 points in the second half and overtime. Sixty-three."

No matter which half this season, Illinois junior guard Aaron Jordan said the Illini haven't had the right type of consistent energy.

"As players, we've got to be hyped from the start of the game, halftime, any part of the game," said Jordan, who was 4 of 8 from three-point range and had 18 points. "It's our energy. Coach is going to take the blame, but that's on us as players."

Frazier's buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the second half gave him a team-high 27 points. It gave the Illini a chance, but it didn't ease the frustration he, Jordan and Underwood showed after the loss.

"It should have never got to that point," Frazier said about getting a second chance in overtime. "Every game is a big-time game. The second half was very disappointing and frustrating. We just had no energy. That's what cost us the game right there."

Iowa's comeback began before the Hawkeyes opened up the second half on a 10-0 run. A strong finish to the first half allowed Iowa to make it a one-possession game in a matter of minutes, sapping any momentum away from the Illini.

"It was a manageable number at the end of the first half," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We were down 20 in the first half, but we weren't down 20 at half."

That a 20-point advantage slipped into something Iowa considered manageable should have been a trigger for the Illini to approach the second half ticked off. At least that's how Underwood said he would have felt.

"That's my personality," he said. "Maybe it's me. Maybe I need to do a better job. Maybe I need to go in and punch trash cans. But it can't be me leading. ...

"I tell our team every single day in conference play — I don't care what conference it is — winning's hard. No one is going to give you anything. You can't play 20 minutes and win."

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read the DI wrote on January 12, 2018 at 5:01 am

Dumbest. Team. Ever.

Where have you gone, Derek Holcomb?

burkejo wrote on January 12, 2018 at 8:01 am

Getting out rebounded by 20, just no presence on the boards. Great games by Frazier, Jordan and Black (until he fouled out). Until we can get some muscle and passion for rebounding, we'll continue to lose games, even when we shoot well.

Moonpie wrote on January 12, 2018 at 8:01 am

So, how's all that famous Lazy Gazoo cheerleading working out? We'll beat Iowa!

Maybe letting them hang 104 points on us is a  -- moral victory!

mvillini wrote on January 12, 2018 at 1:01 pm

NI T   ha, just a fading dream

mvillini wrote on January 12, 2018 at 1:01 pm

NI T   ha, just a fading dream