Having lost six straight games, it seemed highly unlikely that Illinois would find its rhythm against an Iowa team that is playing its best basketball of the season. However, the Fighting Illini finally played like a team that is looking to make the NCAA Tournament, as they hold a 34-23 lead over the Hawkeyes at halftime.
Meyers Leonard completely dominated in the opening half, scoring 15 points on 4/7 shooting and pulling down seven rebounds. Leonard was the only Illini player to score more than five points in the opening half, with D.J. Richardson scoring five points on 2/6 shooting.
The Hawkeyes were led by Matt Gatens, who is playing some of the best basketball in the Big 10. Gatens scored 15 points on 5/7 shooting, including 4/4 from behind the three-point line. Gatens has scored at least 20 points in three straight games, including 33 in a win over Wisconsin. However, the rest of his teammates combined to only make three field goals.
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