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Illinois collapses against Iowa in second half, fall 104-97 in overtime.

Underwood says his team is lacking that killer-instinct

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

A second half collapse and disappearing act in overtime, caused the Illinois Fighting Illini to fall 104-97 to the Iowa Hawkeyes and remain winless in Big Ten play.

After gaining a 20 point lead in the first half, Illinois went back to its familiar ways and allowed Iowa back into the game in the second. The only reason the Hawkeyes didn’t take this game in regulation was because freshman Trent Frazier hit a miracle shot at the buzzer to force extra time.

“As players, we got to be hyped from just the start of the game, halftime, at any part of the game. It’s our energy period,” Jordan said. “That’s on us. Coaches are going to take credit for us, but that’s on us as players.”

But once overtime began, it was all Iowa as it scored the first nine points to jump up 99-90 on Illinois, a lead that proved to be insurmountable.

“Same song, second verse, or third, fourth, fifth or how many games we’ve played,” Underwood said.

Jordan Bohannon finished with 29 points and five assists for the Hawkeyes and Tyler Cooks poured in another 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead them.

Frazier scored a career-high 27 points (7-of-11 from the three-point line) while both Leron Black and Aaron Jordan scored 18 points a piece.

The most eye-opening stat of the night was the rebounding differential. Iowa smashed Illinois on the glass, outrebounding it 45-26.

After starting the season shooting extremely poor from behind the three-point line, Illinois caught fire against Iowa in the first half, hitting five of its first seven attempts. Jordan claimed two of these long balls and the Illini propelled themselves to a 34-15 lead with 8:10 remaining in the first half.

At half, Illinois found itself possessing a 54-41 lead, mostly due to the nine shots they buried from behind the three-point line. Both Frazier and Jordan had hit three shots from deep by halftime to give themselves 11 and 13 points apiece.

“We were really good in the first half and that was fun to watch,” Underwood said. “We’ve gone from the start of game to halftime.”

Nichols continued to have another strong showing off the bench with 11 points.

Another big benefactor for the Illini was their ability to convert Hawkeyes’ turnovers to points on the other end. Iowa had 11 first-half turnovers, which Illinois managed to score 16 points off of.

As soon as the second half was underway, Illinois’ 13 point lead seemingly disappeared as Iowa went on a 10-0 run to make it a 54-51 ball game.

Back-to-back threes for the Hawkeyes allowed them to inevitably tie the game up at 66.

“I’m used to teams that want to have a killer instinct knowing they are up,” Underwood said.

But the Illini making their last four field goals, which included a corner three from Frazier, allowed them to get a 77-71 lead with eight minutes remaining in the game.

Iowa managed to tie the game once again at 79, but Frazier came up big from the corner in response, hitting his fifth three of the game for 21 total points.

With three minutes remaining in the game, Iowa grabbed its first lead since the start when it was ahead 4-2. After a pair of free throws and a layup the following possessions, Iowa had an 87-82 advantage with 1:37 remaining in the game.

Frazier hit another huge three-ball to notch the career-high 24 points, but Illinois could not finish off the defensive possession on the other end as Da’Monte Williams came down with the rebound, but proceded to throw the ball out of bounds.

With 5.2 seconds remaining on the clock, freshman guard Trent Frazier recieved the inbounds pass to try and the tie the game at 90 and send the Illini into overtime.

He dribbles up the right sideline, crosses to his left then his right, then rises up with the runner from the three-point line. The shot rattled in and the State Farm Center fans erupted in celebration.

“It should’ve never gotten to that point honestly, we played a great first half,” Frazier said. “That shot, coaches were just telling me to get it on the rim and get a good look and it went in.”

But this potential momentum did not carry over into overtime and the Illini fall to a 10-8 overall record and 0-5 record in Big Ten play.

Their next opportunity to end this conference drought will be Monday, Jan. 15, when they head to Lincoln, Nebraska to face off against the Cornhuskers.

“I tell our team every single day, conference play, I don’t care what conference it is, winning is hard,” Underwood said. “No one is going to give you anything, you have to go earn it.”