54 - 62 Final
  for this game

Illinois rebounds from pour outing

Feb 1, 2009 - 11:55 PM CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- Mike Tisdale scored 18 points, including six in the final two minutes, as 20th-ranked Illinois rebounded from its lowest-scoring game in 24 years to hold off Iowa, 62-54, on Sunday.

After Illinois (18-4, 6-3 Big Ten) went more than five minutes without a basket, Tisdale's dunk gave the Fighting Illini a 54-47 lead with 1:28 left. The 7-1 sophomore center then hit all four free throws in the final minute to put away the contest.

On Thursday, Illinois shot just 29 percent in a 59-36 loss at Minnesota, its lowest output since a 54-34 defeat to Purdue in 1985.

Sunday's win was hardly pretty, but the Illini did enough to pull within one game of first-place Michigan State (7-2) at the midpoint of the Big Ten season. The Spartans were upset at home by Penn State on Sunday.

"I talked to (former Illinois star) Kendall Gill before the game, he said, 'What do you think Coach?', and I told him I thought it would be a grind-out game," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said.

Dominique Keller added 12 points for Illinois, which took the lead for good, 35-33, on Tisdale's jumper with 14:56 remaining.

David Palmer's two free throws pulled Iowa (12-10, 2-7) within 46-45 with 8:48 remaining, but Illinois held the Hawkeyes scoreless for the next 3 1/2 minutes to take control.

Calvin Brock's layup pushed Illinois' lead to 52-45 with 6:50 remaining.

"We shoot 65 percent (in the second half), made the free throws down the stretch and we out-rebound them, which is an amazing stat for us," added Weber, whose team had a 35-22 edge on the boards despite ranking eighth in the Big Ten in rebounding margin. "That might be a miracle in itself."

Jeff Peterson scored 12 points for the Hawkeyes, who suffered their seventh straight loss at Illinois and fell to 0-5 on the road in conference play this season.

"We have had some problems on the rebounding," said Iowa coach Todd Lickliter, whose team is last in the Big Ten in rebounding. "I have addressed it. I have talked a little bit about strength over the last couple of weeks. We just don't quite have Big Ten strength."

Matt Gatens and Jarryd Cole each contributed 10 points for the Hawkeyes, who got no closer than 58-54 on Peterson's 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining.

The contest was played at a deliberate tempo with the teams combining for just 99 shots. Illinois shot 48 percent (23-of-48) from the field and Iowa 41 percent (21-of-51), with neither team scoring any fast-break points.

"It's not the same as Northwestern, where they run clock, (or) Wisconsin (with) the swing," Weber added. "It's ball movement, one side to the other, they make you guard ball screens. "(They) make you guard until someone breaks down. We broke down several times first half to give them easy layups."

The Hawkeyes were able to dictate a slower tempo in the first half and held a 25-22 lead at the intermission. Iowa stayed close in the second half by making six of its nine 3-pointers.

"We should have tried to sneak out at halftime, I guess," Lickliter added. "Our guys are fighting hard and I think their play is better than what their record would indicate but you're only graded on the record."