Iowa had no answer for Illinois center Meyers Leonard and lost on the road in the Big Ten. Leonard scored 22 points and added 14 rebounds as the Illini snapped a six game losing skid in a 65-54 win.
“Nothing came easy defensively, nothing came easy offensively, we got down double digits, but we kept fighting,” Coach Fran McCaffery said. He said Matt Gatens’ 22 points were the most hard earned he’d ever seen.
Iowa trailed by 11 points at the halftime break but could get no closer than four in the second half as they fall to 7-9 in the Big Ten and 15-14 overall. The Hawkweyes return to action on Wednesday with a visit to Nebraska.
“I think we’ll regroup, I mean we’ve got a mature group, we’ve got a group with great character, and we played fairly well against them at our place, but didn’t play well down the stretch,” McCaffery says.