Iowa Falls to Illinois, 73-61

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell to Illinois, 73-61, on Sunday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the Big Ten regular season finale. The Hawkeyes finish the regular season at 18-13 and 10-10 in Big Ten conference play.

Junior Payton Sandfort led the Hawkeyes in the scoring column with 23 points. Sandfort converted on five 3-pointers to go along with seven rebounds. Sandfort eclipsed the 1,000-point mark after scoring his 10th point of the game.

Sophomore Josh Dix rounded out the Hawkeyes in double digits. Dix scored 13 points as he shot 6-of-13 from the field. Dix grabbed four rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked a shot.

Freshman Owen Freeman scored eight points while pulling in eight rebounds. Fellow freshman Brock Harding provided a spark in the first half with six points and six assists.

Illinois jumped out to a 17-2 run to start the game as the Hawkeyes started the game 2-of-14 from the field. The Fighting Illini added to their lead jumping out to their highest lead of the game 31-11. The Hawkeyes responded cutting the lead to eight with 3:28 remaining in the first half. At the end of the break, Illinois led Iowa 39-29.

Iowa came out firing in the second half cutting the Illini lead to four points with 11:15 remaining after a jump shot from Dix. Illinois responded with an 8-0 run to push the lead back to 12 points. The Hawkeyes refused to go away bit Illinois had an answer for every Iowa run.

Illinois was led by Terrence Shannon Jr. with 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Illinois shot 28-of-63 (44.4%) from the field and 5-of-16 (31.3%) from deep. Iowa shot 23-of-65 (35.4%) from the field and 7-of-21 (33.3%) from beyond the arc.

“We just kept fighting. We had good shots. I wasn’t going to criticize anybody for the shots we were taking I thought we were taking good shots. I thought we were moving the ball. It’s just frustrating for everybody.”

“[Illinois] is a good defensive team. They fight. They compete. They are one of the best teams in the country. But it wasn’t like they were doing anything special. We just played them two weeks ago.”


  • With the loss, the Hawkeyes will be the No. 7 seed in next week’s TIAA Big Ten Tournament.  Iowa will face 10th-seeded Ohio State at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in Minneapolis.
  • Illinois made 9-of-16 field goals over the first eight minutes and limited Iowa to 1-of-14 shooting to build a 22-4 lead at the 11:49 mark.
    • Iowa trailed by as many as 21 (30-9) in the first half before outscoring the Illini, 20-9, to cut deficit to 39-29 at the break.
    • The Hawkeyes cut the deficit to 51-47 with 11:15 remaining and 59-53 with 6:59 left.
  • Junior Payton Sandfort recorded his third straight 20 point game, finishing 9-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-13 from 3-point range.  He also had seven rebounds.
    • It is the first time in his career he has scored 20+ in three straight contests.
    • It was his team-leading 10th 20-point game this season.
    • With his 3-pointer at the 14:40 mark in the second half, Sandfort became the 54th player in program history to reach the 1,000 career point mark.
    • Sandfort has made five or more 3-pointers in five games, four or more in 10 games, three or more in 15 games and two or more in 25 games.
  • Sophomore Josh Dix finished with 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
    • The guard has reached double digits in four straight games and 10 times this season.
  • Freshman Owen Freeman finished with eight points and eight rebounds; freshman Brock Harding had six points and six assists.
  • Iowa finished with just five turnovers in the game.
  • Illinois outrebounded the Hawkeyes, 50-33.

The Hawkeyes will return to action Thursday in Minneapolis at the TIAA Big Ten Tournament.  Iowa, the No. 7 seed, will face 10th-seeded Ohio State at 5:30 p.m. (CT).