Sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu scored 17 points, including the game's final four, and added eight assists and seven rebounds to spark No. 23 Illinois to a 78-76 win over No. 18 Iowa to close out the Big Ten Conference regular season on Sunday night in Champaign, Ill.
The Illini (21-10, 13-7) earned the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament, while the Hawkeyes (20-11, 11-9) are the No. 5 seed. The tournament begins Wednesday in Indianapolis.
Andres Feliz scored 14 points, Kofi Cockburn added 12 points and eight boards, and Kipper Nichols had 10 points to lead the Illini.
"Coming off a loss, I hope this gives us back some confidence," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "I thought we made some plays and Kofi helped us in the first half."
Iowa junior center Luka Garza scored a game-high 28 points and pulled down eight rebounds, Joe Toussaint had 14 points and Connor McCaffery finished with 10 points, eight assists and five boards.
The Illini seized the momentum early in the second half, when Feliz hit a 3-pointer to ignite an 8-0 run that ended with Trent Frazier hitting a 3-pointer for a 49-44 lead with 17:29 left. Sixty-two seconds later, Feliz splashed in another 3-pointer to put the Illini ahead 52-46.
Feliz hit a runner off the glass and Dosunmu scored on a fast-break Euro-step layup to increase the lead to 60-48 at the 13:01 mark. Cockburn scored off a pass from Dosunmu to cap an 11-0 run that ended with the Illini up 64-48.
McCaffery made a long 3-pointer to cut Iowa's deficit -- which once was 16 in the half -- to 72-65 with 4:06 remaining. Bakari Evelyn nailed a corner 3-pointer to lower the margin to 74-70 with 2:21 left.
When Garza scored on a layup to bring the Hawkeyes to within two points, Dosunmu added to his Illinois legacy with a clutch short jumper with 31 seconds left. Garza came right back with a two-handed dunk to cut the deficit to 78-76 with 18 seconds left. With 1.6 seconds left, the Hawkeyes had a chance to tie or win the game, but Cockburn blocked Garza's 13-footer at the buzzer.
--Field Level Media