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Terrence Shannon Jr. scores 25 as No. 12 Illinois beats Iowa 73-61

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 25 points, Quincy Guerrier had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 12 Illinois beat Iowa 73-61 on Sunday.

The Illini (23-8, 14-6 Big Ten) built a big early lead, then pulled away late in the second half after letting the Hawkeyes (18-13, 10-10) get within 59-53 with 6:58 left. Illinois, which finished three games behind Big Ten champion Purdue, will be the No. 2 seed in this week’s Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis.

The Illini were coming off a 77-71 home loss to Purdue on Tuesday, and coach Brad Underwood said his team “kind of practiced angry for a couple of days” afterward.

“We made every drill competitive with consequences,” Underwood said. “Everything was very dialed up. Every mistake, there were consequences for. It was getting guys to understand effort.”

That effort showed early. Illinois opened with a 17-2 run in the first 6 1/2 minutes as the Hawkeyes missed 13 of their first 14 shots.

“We got it going, just by effort,” Illinois center Dain Dainja said. “I think that was because the last couple of days of practice was really hard. We locked back in on our defense, and it showed.”

The Illini led by 21 points before Iowa went on a 14-2 run, getting within 33-25 with 3:27 to play and trailing 39-29 at halftime.

“We kept fighting,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We had good shots. It wasn't like I was going to criticize anybody for the shots we were taking. I thought we were taking good shots, I thought we were moving the ball. It was just frustrating for everybody.”

The Hawkeyes continued to cut into the Illinois lead in the second half, getting within 51-47 with 11:15 to play. But the Illini scored six points in 70 seconds to get the lead back to double digits and kept control from there.

“I think this group understands that teams make runs, especially good teams,” Underwood said. “They just kind of maintained. We got in the huddle, everybody was positive, everybody was upbeat. They were saying all of the right things.”

Shannon had 18 points in the first half and finished 10 of 19 from the field, hitting three 3-pointers.

Payton Sandfort led Iowa with 23 points, 19 in the second half. Josh Dix had 13 points.

“We missed some shots we normally make,” Sandfort said. “That happens.”

Illinois held Iowa to just 35.4% shooting for the game.

“Our defense had really slipped the last couple of games,” Dainja said. “We really focused on that.”

Marcus Domask added 11 points for the Illini.

BIG PICTURE

Illinois: The Illini dominated early, but a lull at the end of the first half and early in the second half allowed the Hawkeyes to get back into the game. Illinois controlled Iowa inside, with a 50-33 rebounding edge.

Underwood appreciated the way his team slowed Iowa's offense.

“They're as explosive as heck,” he said. “You never feel comfortable, even with an 18 or 20-point lead. I thought we had some bite to us today.”

Iowa: The Hawkeyes, who were 5-5 in mid-December, had played themselves into NCAA Tournament consideration in recent weeks, but could have used a win over a ranked opponent to close the regular season.

Underwood said the Hawkeyes were an “NCAA-worthy” team.

“I think we have work to do,” McCaffery said. “I appreciate what Brad said and I think he's right. We've had some difficult wins in a really good league. ... It's not something you want to leave to chance. We want to do some more damage.”

UP NEXT

Illinois: Opens Big Ten Tournament play on Friday against either Iowa or Ohio State.

Iowa: Plays its Big Ten Tournament opener against Ohio State on Thursday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball