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Illinois, Iowa End Long Layoffs for Friday Night Big Ten Showdown

No. 7 Iowa (12-3, 6-2 Big Ten) and No. 19 Illinois (10-5, 6-3) will be playing their first games in over a week after Illinois’ scheduled matchup with Michigan State and Iowa’s planned matchup with Nebraska were postponed. 

 

Iowa is attempting to bounce back from an 81-69 loss to Indiana in its last outing back on Jan. 21. Illinois won its last game 79-65 over Penn State on Jan. 19 but had lost two straight before that.

 

With 1.6 seconds left against Illinois last March, Luka Garza had a chance to tie the game when he took an inbound pass near the basket. Kofi Cockburn blocked his shot, and the Illini won 78-76.

 

Garza had 28 points and eight rebounds that night, and the next day he was named Big Ten player of the year.

 

Garza will see Cockburn for the first time since last March when the No. 7 Hawkeyes (12-3, 6-2 Big Ten) and No. 19 Illinois (10-5, 6-3) meet on the same court in Champaign on Friday night.

 

Iowa is 1 1/2 games behind Big Ten-leading Michigan, which will have at least four straight games postponed because of the school’s athletic program shutdown last Saturday after a variant of the COVID-19 virus was found in testing.

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