Iowa stuns Illini, 63-48
Published: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
IOWA CITY, Iowa - For at least a day, Iowa put aside its shooting troubles.
Coming off one of their worst shooting performances under coach Steve Alford, Iowa rebounded Saturday to beat No. 6 Illinois 63-48, snapping the Illini's 15-game winning streak.
The Hawkeyes (12-4, 1-1 Big Ten) did just enough on offense. Jeff Horner had 16 points and helped Iowa take command in the second half, when the Hawkeyes scored 40 points on 53 percent shooting and 18-of-21 from the free throw line.
But it was the defense that flustered the Illini (15-1, 1-1), who were held under 50 points for the first time since Michigan State did it Feb. 11, 1999.
"I know how good Illinois is, so to beat that team the way we did today, and to defend, we can guard anybody," said Alford, whose team shot a miserable 17 percent in the second half in a loss to Wisconsin earlier in the week, the worst second-half performance in his seven-year tenure.
"We told them we don't care if you shoot 25 percent in this game today. Make sure you've been guarding the way we've been guarding," Alford said.
The Hawkeyes did just that.
In a physical battle between two of the Big Ten's best defensive teams, Iowa held Illinois to 35 percent shooting and shut down flashy point guard Dee Brown, who scored six points on 2-of-13 shooting - one game after he scored a career-high 34 in a victory over No. 7 Michigan State.
The Illini, who had won 54 of their last 55 regular-season games, committed 16 turnovers, trailed the entire second half and shot 19 percent from 3-point range.
"Coach always talks about the basketball gods, how they'll allow 40 one night and four the next," said Illini center James Augustine, who led Illinois with 14 points and nine rebounds. "But we don't have to put everything on Dee's shoulders. We needed to have somebody else step up, and that didn't really happen."
Illinois' first loss came after a grueling win over the Spartans, a game coach Bruce Weber said may have drained his team's emotional tank.
"It was such a high the other night. Maybe it was all blown out of proportion," Weber said. "They weren't hyped up out there early. It shows you how vulnerable you are if you're not ready."
Illinois has a week off before heading into a stretch of three games in eight days, including a Jan. 17 trip to Indiana.
"Hopefully with this week off we can get it back together," Augustine said. "I don't think (the offense) is running as smoothly as we want it to. We've got a lot of work to do."
Freshman Andre McGee scored four of his season-high 12 points in the final 1:22 and visiting Louisville beat Providence, the Cardinals' first win as a member of the Big East.
The game was a return for Rick Pitino, who led Providence to the Final Four in 1987 before leaving for two stints in the NBA surrounding a run at Kentucky where he won a national championship in 1996.
The fans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center, it was the Providence Civic Center when Pitino coached here, gave the former coach a standing ovation when he was introduced, but that was long forgotten by the time McGee came up big as the Cardinals (12-2, 1-1) scored the game's final six points.
Freshman Weyinmi Efejuku had a season-high 19 points for the Friars (7-6, 0-2), including the free throw that capped a 12-2 run and gave Providence a 67-66 lead with 1:43 to play.
Joe McCray hit a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left to give host Nebraska its first win over Oklahoma in eight meetings since 1999, and its first over a Top 25 opponent since beating then-No. 4 Oklahoma State last February.
P.J. Tucker scored 24 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds as host Texas opened Big 12 play with a win over Colorado. Texas (12-2) has won four in a row.
Marshall Strickland made two free throws with 5.7 seconds left, then stole the ball on Ohio State's final possession to give host Indiana a victory over the 18th-ranked Buckeyes.
Indiana (10-2, 2-0 Big Ten) rallied from a 17-point first half deficit, its largest of the season, to win its sixth straight. Marco Killingsworth led the Hoosiers with 26 points. Strickland had 15.
Jordan Farmar scored on a drive down the lane with 3.6 seconds left to give visiting UCLA a win over Arizona State.
The Bruins (13-2, 3-1 Pac-10) escaped despite shooting 36 percent (18-for-50) after a 62 percent night in their victory at No. 21 Arizona on Thursday.
Mustafa Shakur had 17 points and Hassan Adams added 16, and host Arizona pulled away in the second half.
Early on, the Wildcats (10-4, 3-1 Pac-10) seemed unable to shake off their loss to UCLA on Thursday and needed to rally to take a two-point halftime lead.
Danilo Pinnock scored 15 of his 21 points after halftime and visiting George Washington rallied to beat Marshall in overtime.
Carl Elliott added 18 points before fouling out on the first possession of overtime for George Washington (10-1). Maureece Rice and Pops Mensah-Bonsu had 15 points apiece. Only six players scored for the Colonials.
Mark Patton led Marshall (6-6) with 21 points before also fouling out. Markel Humphrey had a career-high 15 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Ross added 11 points.
Iowa, which plays Saturday at Penn State, also got 15 points from Adam Haluska and 10 points from Mike Henderson. The win also snapped a four-game losing streak against the Illini, and fans savored the moment by rushing the court to celebrate with the team after time expired.
Iowa shot 35 percent and made 3-of-11 3-pointers. The difference was at the free throw line, where the Hawkeyes went 24-of-32, compared to 7-of-15 for Illinois.
The Hawkeyes led 23-19 at the half then extended it to nine when Haluska nailed a 3-pointer 3:27 into the second half. Iowa opened the second half with a 9-4 run, then grabbed its first double-digit lead when Haluska swished a 3-pointer to put Iowa up 38-28.
The Illini cut it to six 3 minutes later when Chester Frazier scored on a one-hander in the paint and Jamar Smith's 3-pointer on the next possession brought Illinois to 41-38. But the Illini would get no closer.
Haluska sank a pair of free throws on its next possession, triggering a 14-5 run over the next 7 minutes.
Horner sank all six of his free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
"I think it's a huge boost for us," said Haluska. "The Wisconsin loss was bad, but we knew we could pick up from it, and there's a lot of teams left to play."
Brown's struggles started early. His only point in the first half came when he sank the second of two free throws at 8:05. He missed all six of his shot attempts, including a pair of fast-break layups and with just one assist struggled to create scoring chances against Iowa's aggressive man-to-man defense.
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