Illinois Vs. Iowa Final Score: Hawkeyes Kick Off Big Ten Tournament With 60-56 Win

The Iowa Hawkeyes will be moving on to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals to face Michigan State after their 64-61 victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday. This one was a true Big Ten-style battle, with both teams using a lot of the shot clock and crashing the offensive glass. Illinois did not make the most of their possessions, however, and gave up too many second chance points. Iowa grabbed 12 offensive rebounds, including one at the end of the game after Roy Devyn missed the front end of a one-and-one with Illinois only trailing by four points.

Incredibly, the Illini failed to get to the free throw line. Matt Gaetens was the leading scorer for Iowa as he has been for most of the season, but it took until late in the first half for him to attempt a three-point shot. He ultimately finished with 20 points and was 2-5 from behind the arc.

Meyers Leonard was extremely effective for Illinois when they could get the ball to him. He was the Illini's leading scorer with 18 points on 9-11 shooting, but the Illini didn't do enough to get the ball to him throughout the game, often settling for low-quality shots before they went inside. Brandon Paul had a very rough day for Illinois, as he shot 2-11 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times.

Iowa had a chance to ice the game late, but Aaron White missed the front end of a one-and-one with 27 seconds remaining, which was followed up by a made three-point shot by Joseph Bertrand to pull Iowa within one. Iowa would get the impeding inbound to Gaetens, who did an excellent job to run time off the clock before drawing the foul. He hit both free throws, icing the game for the Hawkeyes.

For more on the two teams, head over to Iowa Hawkeyes blog Black Heart Gold Pants and Illinois Fighting Illini blog Hail to the Orange. You can find full coverage of the tournament in our Big Ten Tournament StoryStream and at SB Nation Indiana.

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