For the first time since 2013, Iowa is moving on to the Big Ten men's basketball tournament quarterfinals. The No. 6-seed Hawkeyes (22-10) crushed No. 11-seed Illinois (12-21) in the second round Thursday night, 83-62, at United Center in Chicago.
Coverage from Chicago:
Turning point: The first half was full of runs from both teams and Iowa led 37-31 at the break. The Hawkeyes quickly built a 47-35 lead to start the second half, but instead of letting Illinois back, Iowa continued its surge. An 11-2 run made it 58-42 Hawkeyes with 12:15 remaining, powered by 3-pointers from Connor McCaffery, Nicholas Baer and Ryan Kriener. Unlike Sunday's loss at Nebraska, Iowa kept up the intensity on both ends of the floor and pulled away for a comfortable victory.
MVP: Tyler Cook's rim-rocking dunks will definitely make a Big Ten tournament highlight reel or two. His one-handed alley-oop slam early in the second half set the tone for a dominant period. Cook's all-around game was stellar, too, as he put up 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with five rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
Key stat: 12-23. Illinois has to be sick of defending Iowa at this point. Iowa made 15 of 21 3-pointers in 95-71 win over the Illini, then sank 12 of 23 in this one. Seven different Hawkeyes canned a trey here, led by Baer's 5-for-6 effort.
Points: Nicholas Baer, Iowa (17); Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois (12)
Rebounds: Joe Wieskamp, Iowa (7); Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois (6)
Assists: Connor McCaffery, Iowa (8); Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois (6)
Steals: Jordan Bohannon, Joe Wieskamp, Connor McCaffery, Iowa (1); Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois (3)
Blocks: Tyler Cook, Iowa (2); Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Illinois (2)
3-Pointers: Nicholas Baer, Iowa (5-6); Tevian Jones, Illinois (3-5)
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Up next: The Hawkeyes take on No. 3-seed Michigan in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Friday (BTN).