Feb. 7, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — A 26-6 advantage in second-chance points and a plus-11 rebounding advantage sent the No. 5/7 University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 77-65 road victory at Illinois on Sunday afternoon inside the State Farm Center.
The Hawkeyes are 4-1 in Big Ten road games for the first time since 1997-98, 19-4 overall, and a league-leading 10-1 in conference action with seven games remaining in the regular season. Iowa has won consecutive games in Champaign for the first time since 1986 and 1987.
Illinois falls to 11-13, 3-8.
Iowa finished with a 43-32 advantage on the glass, which included 12 offensive rebounds. The Hawkeyes turned those second chances into 26 points — 20 more than the Fighting Illini.
“We are always trying to fight hard on the glass, every possession, offensively and defensively,” said senior Adam Woodbury, who grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds, his fifth 10-plus rebounding contest in the last six games. “In the first half they were sending everybody back to stop our transition, so we were able to keep them off the glass, get some run-outs, and pressure their defense.”
The Hawkeyes shot 43.1 percent from the field, made 8-of-20 3-point field goals, and went 13-of-16 from the charity stripe. Iowa committed just nine turnovers — its 10th game with 10 or fewer miscues — and Iowa’s starting five was masterful, accounting for 69 of the team’s 77 points.
Junior Peter Jok led all scorers with 23 points — his seventh 20-point game this season — making 7-of-18 field goals and all six free throws. Seniors Jarrod Uthoff and Adam Woodbury went toe-to-toe with Illinois by themselves.
Both players posted double-doubles; Uthoff scored 18 points and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season; Woodbury finished with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists for his seventh double-double of the year.
“We stuck to our game play, did what we did well, and relied on our two main guys to get us going,” said Woodbury. “They played well tonight.”
Iowa led for nearly 37 minutes in the contest and by as many as 20 points with 11 1/2 minutes remaining in the second half.
The Hawkeyes stormed out to a 16-6 lead behind eight early points from Jok. Illinois’ first two field goals were 3-pointers, but it made just two of its first 11 attempts. Iowa led by as many as 13 points (32-19) in the opening 20 minutes and took a 38-29 lead into the locker room.
Illinois trimmed the lead to 38-32 on a Jalen Coleman-Lands 3-pointer coming out of the break and Iowa led by seven (43-36) with 17:20 remaining. Jok then pushed the lead to 12 in a span of 50 seconds.
The junior connected on a 3-pointer at the 17:06 mark before collecting a steal and slamming home a fast-break dunk to make the score 48-36. Clemmons followed with a 3-pointer at the 16:08 mark to stretch the advantage to 15 (51-36).
Iowa’s lead moved to 18 (56-38) on a Uthoff 3-pointer at the 14:39 mark, 19 (62-43) on a Uthoff jumper with 12:57 remaining, and to a game-high 20 points (65-45) on a Dom Uhl 3-pointer with 11:45 left.
Illinois closed the gap to within 10 points with 2:03 remaining, but the Hawkeyes finished with a 12 point win. Iowa has won nine of its 10 Big Ten games by double figures.
Illinois shot 39.4 percent and went 8-of-25 from 3-point range. The Fighting Illini shot just six free throws (making five attempts) and committed 10 turnovers. Coleman-Lands led a group of three Illinois players in double figures with 17 points; Kendrick Nunn, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, was limited to six points on 2-of-13 shooting.
Iowa returns to action Thursday, traveling to Bloomington for a game against second-place Indiana inside Assembly Hall.
“Every time we step on the court and get a win, the next one becomes bigger,” said Woodbury. “We have a big target on our back, and they’re going to be ready for us, but we’ll also be ready for them.”