Iowa City, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Ekey rose up from the wing and buried
a contested 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to lift Illinois to a 66-63 win
over No. 24 Iowa on Saturday.
Ekey, who finished with 12 points off the bench, knocked down a trey with
three minutes left to give the Illini a 63-59 lead before Roy Devyn Marble
and Gabriel Olaseni converted back-to-back layups to tie the game at 63-apiece
to set up the late-game heroics.
Rayvonte Rice paced Illinois (18-13, 7-11 Big Ten) with 15 points, while
Nnanna Egwu and Kendrick Nunn scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, in
the Illini's fourth win in their last five games.
Aaron White led Iowa (20-11, 9-9) with 12 points and eight rebounds in the
setback. Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell each netted 11 points, while seniors
Marble and Melsahn Basabe scored eight and six points, respectively, in their
final game at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa has lost two straight to close the regular season and five of its last
six overall. The loss also snapped a 30-game home winning streak to unranked
Olaseni hit a jumper to give the Hawkeyes a 54-48 lead with 11 1/2 minutes
left in the second half. Illinois answered with an 11-0 spurt that Ekey
started with a three-point play. Egwu capped the run with a jumper to give the
Illini a 59-54 advantage with under seven minutes to go.
Woodbury followed with a jumper before Gesell converted a 3 to tie the game
at 59-59 entering the home stretch.
Earlier, Ekey knocked down a 3-pointer with just under 14 minutes remaining in
the first half to stake Illinois to a 20-6 lead. The Illini would cool off
from there, going nearly eight minutes without a field goal as Iowa crept its
way back into the contest.
Zach McCabe followed Ekey's triple with a 3 of his own, and Iowa proceeded to
go on an elongated 17-1 run. White scored six straight points for the Hawkeyes
and Gesell's jumper with 6 1/2 to play capped the spurt for a 23-21 lead.
Rice made a dunk to end the field goal drought for Illinois and tie the game
Woodbury scored seven straight for Iowa and Basabe hit a jumper as the first
half came to a close to give the Hawkeyes a 34-29 lead at the break.
Illinois shot 25-for-54 from the floor, while Iowa converted 24-of-54 attempts
from the field ... Marble shot 3-for-11 from the floor in defeat ... The
Illini owned a 34-29 edge on the boards.