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IOWA CITY -- Illinois completed the season sweep of the Iowa men's basketball team Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 70-66.
Here are three takeaways from the Hawkeyes' third straight loss.
Iowa had been successful in each of its rematches this season, beating Purdue, Rutgers and Nebraska earlier this season. The Hawkeyes led at halftime Saturday against Illinois, but two lengthy scoring droughts in the second half turned a four-point halftime lead into a 70-66 loss, taking Iowa to 14-13 this season and 6-8 in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes’ offense never seemed to get in a flow for longer than a few possessions in a row, and they paid for it as a result.
Empty possessions late – When Iowa needed them most, points were not to be had in the final three minutes.
Down one with 2:20 to go, Jordan Bohannon missed a pair of free throws, and the Hawkeyes followed that with three straight one-and-done possessions, while Illinois got a 3 from the corner to take a 65-61 lead.
Iowa had two more chances after that to tie the game, but failed to do so.
Tyler Cook had a solid game with 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting. Illinois had no answer for him in one-on-one post situations, as the freshman scored on four occasions against the Illini’s Maverick Morgan by backing him down.
Cook sat for much of the final six minutes of the game, though, with four fouls. Without Cook on the floor, Iowa’s post presence all but disappeared offensively down the stretch.
When jumpers weren’t falling at other parts of the game, that was a safety valve – one the Hawkeyes could’ve used in those final minutes.