Illinois stuns Iowa in Big Ten tournament, faces Purdue next

SHARE Illinois stuns Iowa in Big Ten tournament, faces Purdue next

Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (21) celebrates with his teammates after an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Indianapolis. Illinois won 68-66. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) ORG XMIT: INKS148

INDIANAPOLIS — Illinois thought it had Thursday’s upset all wrapped with 3 minutes to go.

Then the Fighting Illini suddenly unraveled.

They blew an 11-point lead in 98 seconds before getting a tie-breaking 16-foot jumper from Malcolm Hill with 1:14 to go and held on to upset No. 20 Iowa 68-66 in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

“I had an awful game, probably one of my worst games of the year,” Hill said after making only 2 of 9 shots. “To be able to know my teammates and coaches have confidence to give me the ball in that situation, it makes it that much easier to make plays for this team.”

The big shot he made, though, gave Illinois (15-18) its second consecutive win and a ticket into Friday’s quarterfinal round.

It was an implausible finish to a wild game that had a little bit of everything.

Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 17 points and broke the school’s freshman record for 3-pointers by going 5 of 10. He has 87 this season, two more than Cory Bradford in 1999, including the last one giving the Illini the 11-point lead. Kendrick Nunn added 16 points.

On defense, Illinois was even better. It limited Iowa to 40.3 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers against a team that averaged just 11.1 this season before coming unglued in the final moments.

“We played ridiculously hard,” coach John Groce said.

And they needed every ounce of effort to hold on.

The resurgent Hawkeyes (21-10) pulled a page out of Reggie Miller’s playbook by taking advantage of two fouls and an Illinois turnover to give themselves a second chance.

Jarrod Uthoff got the rally started with a 3-point play, an offensive rebound led to a dunk by Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl knocked down a 3-pointer and Baer’s 3-point play with 1:40 left tied the score at 66.

But the Hawkeyes didn’t score again and wound up throwing the ball away on an inbound pass from underneath their own basket with 2.6 seconds to go.

Peter Jok matched his career high with 29 points before fouling out with 4:02 to play following a replay review. Uthoff scored 21 as the Hawkeyes lost for fifth time in six games.

“I think this game was different in that at least we fought back,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said when asked to compare this loss with a tourney loss in 2014. “Hill made a tough shot. Jarrod is right in his face, so you have to give him credit there.”


One day after setting a Big Ten tournament record by making 14 3s, the Illini were back at it Thursday. They wound up 10 of 23 from beyond the arc and are now 24 of 49 through two games in Indianapolis. Illinois is shooting 50 percent from the field overall during the first two days, too.


Jok had a strange day. He scored 15 points in a 20-6 run in the first half, which allowed the Hawkeyes to take a 33-30 lead. He opened the second half by scoring 10 of Iowa’s first 12 points and looked like he would threaten Michael Thompson’s single-game tourney scoring record (35 in 2011). Instead, he got into foul trouble and made only one more basket.


Iowa must wait to see how much its late-season swoon will hurt it in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee. Just a couple of weeks ago, Iowa was in position to win the Big Ten’s regular-season title. While the Hawkeyes are still expected to make the 68-team field, their seeding could take a significant hit after they went 2-6 in their last eight.


Fighting Illini: Improved to 2-6 this season against Top 25 teams. … Nunn became the 48th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark, finishing the game with 1,005. … Hill had six points, leaving him two short of becoming the first Illinois player to record 600 points, 200 rebounds and 100 assists in one season.

Hawkeyes: Had beaten Illinois six of the previous seven games in this series. … Iowa shot 40.3 percent from the field but had a 40-30 rebounding edge including a 16-8 advantage in offensive rebounds. … Baer finished with eight points and was the only player other than Jok or Uthoff to score more than three. … Jok fouled out after the officials assessed a double technical foul because of a shoving incident under the Hawkeyes basket.


Fighting Illini: Face No. 13 Purdue in the second Big Ten quarterfinal game Friday.

Hawkeyes: Will wait to see who and where they play in the postseason.

Michigan 72, Northwestern 70, OT

INDIANAPOLIS — It was a shot Zak Irvin was more than willing to take.

The Michigan guard’s game-winning jumper from the right wing with 3.3 seconds to play capped a 19-point effort, lifting No. 8 seed Michigan to a 72-70 overtime victory against No. 9 seed Northwestern on Thursday in the Big Ten tournament.

Irvin, who grew up in the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers and graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School, added eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.

The Wolverines (21-11) trailed 70-67, but Duncan Robinson’s 3-pointer with 46.5 seconds remaining tied it. Northwestern (20-12) missed an opportunity to retake the lead, and Michigan ran the clock down from 29.3 seconds to set up Irvin’s game winner.

“I was amped up before the game,” Irvin said. “It’s always nice coming back to your hometown so that friends and family can see you play. I was just proud of how hard we were able to fight and how tough we were throughout. Coach (John) Beilein put the ball in my hands at the end, and we were just trying to get the best shot we could.”

Robinson led Michigan with 21 points and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added 14. The Wolverines advance to play No. 1 seed Indiana in Friday’s first quarterfinal.

Tre Demps led Northwestern with 21, Alex Olah had 20 and Bryant McIntosh scored 19.

Michigan shot 38 percent and Northwestern shot 37 percent.

Olah’s 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play in regulation pulled Northwestern to within 59-58. Robinson made one of two free throws with 14.3 seconds left for a 60-58 lead, and Olah’s rebound basket just ahead of the final horn forced overtime, tied at 60, setting the stage for Irvin’s heroics.

“There has been a maturity to Zak’s game as he has grown as a player at Michigan,” Beilein said. “He has always been good in tough situations, but at the same time, when you are coming back here and playing Purdue or Indiana or just playing in Indianapolis, there’s a little bit more pressure on you. He understands that now a lot better than he did in the past couple of years.”

After a McIntosh 3-pointer gave the Wildcats a brief 55-54 lead at the 3:27 mark, Derrick Walton, Jr. made two free throws and Mark Donnal’s layup pushed Michigan back on top, 58-55.

A driving layup from Olah tied it at 52 with 5:47 remaining, capping a 7-0 Northwestern run, prompting a Wolverine timeout.

“We got down early, but we just kept playing,” Olah said. “That is what you have to do.”

Wildcats coach Chris Collins wasn’t surprised when 40 minutes was not enough to produce a winner.

“These are two very evenly matched teams,” Collins said. “We don’t have that brand name that Michigan has, but we are a good basketball team that is getting there. I hope we have more basketball to play is season. These guys deserve that.

“To win 20 regular season games and eight in the Big Ten shows just how far these guys have brought the program in a short time.”

An Abdur-Rahkman 3-pointer to open the second half gave Michigan a 37-25 lead, but Northwestern countered with a 9-0 run that included three consecutive Olah field goals to close to within 37-34.

Ricky Doyle scored six quick points, and Abdur-Rahkman added another 3-pointer, pushing Michigan’s lead to 46-38.

Fueled by a 16-0 run after Demps opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, Michigan led 34-25 at halftime, getting 14 points from Robinson, including three 3-pointers.

After Michigan took a 23-11 lead on an Andrew Dakich 3-pointer, McIntosh and Demps led a Northwestern charge that sliced the Wolverines’ advantage to 23-21 with 7:36 remaining in the half.

But with Robinson scoring Michigan’s next nine points, the Wolverines closed the first 20 minutes on an 11-4 run.

Michigan shot 40.7 percent in the first half (11 of 27) and limited Northwestern to 25 percent (8 of 32). The Wolverines also enjoyed a 25-17 rebounding advantage.



Northwestern: The Wildcats entered the Big Ten tournament with a three-game winning streak … Northwestern won 20 regular-season games for the first time in school history … The Wildcats entered 1-1 all-time in Big Ten tournament games against Michigan, beating the Wolverines 58-56 in 2005 in Chicago.

Michigan: The Wolverines won the first Big Ten tournament in 1998, defeating Purdue 76-67 in Chicago’s United Center … Michigan entered the Big Ten tournament 1-4 in its final five regular season games … The Wolverines entered averaging 74.9 points a game, the second highest in coach John Beilein’s tenure, just behind the 2012-13 team’s 75.2.


The Wildcats and Wolverines attempted a combined 126 field goals, 56 of which were 3-pointers. They combined to make 23 shots from beyond the arc.


Northwestern waits for post season tournaments to select fields.

Michigan meets league champion Indiana in Friday’s quarterfinals.

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