It took the third largest comeback in school history, but the end result was the University of Iowa men's basketball team's first Big Ten victory of the season.
Sophomore forward Cordell Pemsl's layup with 12:06 left pulled Iowa even at 66-66 - the game's first tie since 4-4 as the Hawkeyes needed less than 12 minutes to erase Illinois' 20-point lead. In the opening 10 minutes the hosts extended a lead of 32-16, then hitting a high of 20 points, 49-29, at 3:53 after a Trent Frazier three. Their inopportune play dropped them to 0-5 in conference play as Iowa picked up its first Big Ten win, 104-97.
Poor defense carried into the second half, and Iowa cut the lead to 3 points with a 10-0 run after just more than 2 minutes played. The Hawkeyes knocked down shots at a 50 percent rate, and the Illini shot 48.6 percent.
Cook and Garza both posted double-doubles and a total of five Hawkeyes reached double figures.
IL (10-8, 0-5) - Black 8-12 2-3 18, Finke 2-7 0-0 4, Williams 1-3 1-1 4, Alstork 1-3 0-0 3, Frazier 10-20 0-1 27, Eboigbodin 4-7 0-1 8, Nichols 3-7 6-6 13, Smith 1-5 0-0 2, Jordan 6-10 2-2 18. In 41 minutes, Jordan collected 29 points, 1 rebound, 5 assists, 1 steal and 5 threes with 4 turnovers. He had 18 3-pointers in 17 games heading into Thursday's contest.
Frazier led IL with 27 points, while Leron Black and Aaron Jordan added 18 points each. More impressive, though, was Illinois's three point shooting, which stood at an unreal 9/15 (60%) at half.
FYI: Fighting the flu Saturday at Michigan, Black's seven-point scoring effort was the first time since November 17 he didn't hit double digits playing a full game for the Illini. McCaffery said after the game.
"We came out right from the jump in the second half, " Garza said.
Iowa's 20-point comeback was the third-largest in school history, right behind a 22-point deficit against IL in 1987 and a 23-point comeback against Gardner-Webb in 2012.
Black's departure stunted Illinois' offense this time around while Iowa kept attacking.
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Bench scoring was controlled by IL with 41 points off the bench compared to Iowa's 13 points.
Leading the scoring for IL this year is Leron Black, with 14.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG, while Michael Finke has 10.6 PPG and 5.4 RPG.
"It didn't start in the second half, " McCaffery added. IL is a poor offensive team and Iowa made them look like the Golden State Warriors in the first half.
He averaged 5.1 points and 5 rebounds while getting 19 starts as a freshman last season. "When Luka came in, he came in with energy and confidence. That spurt was huge for us and him".
Iowa committed 17 turnovers in the game, but only six came in the second half and in overtime.
IL ranks 46th in assists allowed per game (11.5) while Iowa ranks 182nd (14.7). Ten assists in Iowa's home loss to Ohio State on January 4 stands as his season high. The 6-foot-1 freshman guard said the Illini played "great" in those games.
The Hawkeyes had a decisive advantage at the free throw stripe, finishing with season-highs in makes (33) and attempts (40).
G Aaron Jordan Jr.
The Hawkeyes close out their three-game road trip Wednesday when they travel to Piscataway for a 6 p.m. (CT) matchup at Rutgers.