Illinois men’s basketball upsets Iowa

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Although most eyes were on Kiwane Garris and his 21 points, it was Jarrod Gee’s season-high 11 rebounds that got the praise from coach Lon Kruger after the Illini’s 66-51 win over No. 25 Iowa on Sunday.
“I think the key today was (Chris) Gandy and Gee rebounding the ball inside. Rebounding has been tough for us all year,” Kruger said.
Illinois (17-6, 7-4 Big Ten) shot just 40 percent from the floor but outrebounded the Hawkeyes 45-29 to get their third win in a row. It was only the second time this season the Hawkeyes had lagged behind on the boards.
“Our young kids looked like they were glued to the floor at times,” Iowa coach Tom Davis said.
Gee said he finally focused on the boards and let Garris, the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, and Gandy take care of the scoring.
“I’m tired of feeling like I wasn’t a factor for my team,” Gee said.
Illinois had started the second half with a 17-6 run to take a 20-point lead, 50-30, on Gee’s second basket of the game.
The Hawkeyes (16-6, 7-3) responded with a 17-6 run of their own to pull within nine points, 56-47, with 4:42 left on a 3-pointer by Andre Woolridge. But Iowa could manage only four more points down the stretch.
Garris also had 10 assists for the Illini. Chris Gandy added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams used zone defenses to force perimeter shooting. While Illinois responded by making 11 of 25 3-pointers, Iowa only made seven treys and shot a dismal 33 percent from the floor.
The Illini defense also blocked nine shots and held Woolridge, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, to 12 points.
“I got a lot of open looks at the basket, and I missed my shots,” Woolridge said. “But even with me having an off shooting night, if we got those rebounds it’s a whole different story.”
Guy Rucker, Iowa’s 6-9 center, made most of the Hawkeyes’ inside shots and led the team with 16 points.
Illinois took a 33-24 lead at the half on Kevin Turner’s 3-pointer one second before halftime.
Iowa had jumped to a 10-5 lead on Woolridge’s 3-pointer with 14:22 to go in the half. But Illinois responded with an 11-2 run, including 3-pointers from Matt Heldman, Garris and Gandy, to take a 16-12 lead with 10:54 in the half.