Hill’s 21, Lucas Block Help Illini Hold Off Iowa 70-66

February 18, 2017
Illinois guard Jaylon Tate, left, fights for a loose ball with Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl during the second half of Saturday's Illini win in Iowa City, Iowa.

Illinois guard Jaylon Tate, left, fights for a loose ball with Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl during the second half of Saturday's Illini win in Iowa City, Iowa. Illinois won 70-66.

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

John Groce spent the off-week with his team focused on toughness and togetherness. It's already paying off. Malcolm Hill scored 21 points and hauled down eight rebounds and Illinois held on for a 70-66 win over Iowa on Saturday. The Illini took the lead in the final minutes on a Hill layup and fended off several Iowa chances late to win their second true road game of the season.

"We gave great effort," Groce said. "It took every ounce of that effort to come out of here with a win. They showed great mental and physical toughness. That's what I'm most proud of."

Michael Finke, Jalen Coleman-Lands and Te'Jon Lucas each scored 12 points for the Illini (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten).

Lucas blocked Jordan Bohannon's go-ahead layup attempt in the final two minutes to protect Illinois' 62-61 lead, and then Coleman-Lands knocked down a corner 3-pointer with 1:32 left.

Peter Jok had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Iowa (14-13, 6-8). The Hawkeyes have lost three straight.

Iowa had plenty of chances late. The Hawkeyes missed five of their six shots in the final 1:45 and had a nearly seven-minute stretch without a field goal earlier in the second half.

"It usually comes down to a mistake or two," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We did so many good things, and we did some things that obviously weren't as good, and they capitalized on those."

Tyler Cook had 14 points and Bohannon added 11 for Iowa.

Michael Finke, Jalen Coleman-Lands and Te'Jon Lucas each scored 12 points for the Illini (15-12, 5-9 Big Ten).

Story source: AP