Published January 08, 2015
Iowa City, IA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jon Ekey rose up from the wing and buried a contested 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds left to lift Illinois to a 66-63 win over No. 24 Iowa on Saturday.
Ekey, who finished with 12 points off the bench, knocked down a trey with three minutes left to give the Illini a 63-59 lead before Roy Devyn Marble and Gabriel Olaseni converted back-to-back layups to tie the game at 63-apiece to set up the late-game heroics.
Rayvonte Rice paced Illinois (18-13, 7-11 Big Ten) with 15 points, while Nnanna Egwu and Kendrick Nunn scored 14 and 10 points, respectively, in the Illini's fourth win in their last five games.
Aaron White led Iowa (20-11, 9-9) with 12 points and eight rebounds in the setback. Adam Woodbury and Mike Gesell each netted 11 points, while seniors Marble and Melsahn Basabe scored eight and six points, respectively, in their final game at Carver Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa has lost two straight to close the regular season and five of its last six overall. The loss also snapped a 30-game home winning streak to unranked opponents.
Olaseni hit a jumper to give the Hawkeyes a 54-48 lead with 11 1/2 minutes left in the second half. Illinois answered with an 11-0 spurt that Ekey started with a three-point play. Egwu capped the run with a jumper to give the Illini a 59-54 advantage with under seven minutes to go.
Woodbury followed with a jumper before Gesell converted a 3 to tie the game at 59-59 entering the home stretch.
Earlier, Ekey knocked down a 3-pointer with just under 14 minutes remaining in the first half to stake Illinois to a 20-6 lead. The Illini would cool off from there, going nearly eight minutes without a field goal as Iowa crept its way back into the contest.
Zach McCabe followed Ekey's triple with a 3 of his own, and Iowa proceeded to go on an elongated 17-1 run. White scored six straight points for the Hawkeyes and Gesell's jumper with 6 1/2 to play capped the spurt for a 23-21 lead.
Rice made a dunk to end the field goal drought for Illinois and tie the game at 23-23.
Woodbury scored seven straight for Iowa and Basabe hit a jumper as the first half came to a close to give the Hawkeyes a 34-29 lead at the break.
Illinois shot 25-for-54 from the floor, while Iowa converted 24-of-54 attempts from the field ... Marble shot 3-for-11 from the floor in defeat ... The Illini owned a 34-29 edge on the boards.