Ayo Dosunmu scored 17 points to lead No. 23 Illinois past No. 18 Iowa 78-76 on Sunday, securing the No. 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament for the Illini.
Andres Feliz scored 14 points, Kofi Cockburn had 12 and Kipper Nichols added 10 for Illinois (21-10, 13-7 Big Ten).
Luka Garza scored 28 points for Iowa (20-11, 11-9), which finished in a four-way tie for fifth in the Big Ten and will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament. Joe Toussaint scored 14 and Connor McCaffery added 10.
Illinois built a 17-point lead late in the game, using a 12-2 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. But that lead evaporated to two points in the final seconds and it took Cockburn blocking a shot by Garza under the basket at the buzzer to seal the win.
Cockburn was a big presence for Illinois, scoring nine points in the first 10 minutes. Defensively, the Illini had problems getting stops early and Iowa’s Garza took command both in the paint and from the perimeter.
Emotions ran high throughout the game. With less than two minutes left in an entertaining first half, a scrum erupted that resulted in technical fouls for Illinois’ Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams and Iowa’s McCaffery and CJ Fredrick.
The score was tied at 41-41 at the half.
The No. 4 seed gives Illinois another day of rest and will play on Friday 1:30 pm Central Time. The Illini got a double-bye in the tournament, while Iowa will have to start a day earlier.