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Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2005 6:47 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(1) Illinois 75, Iowa 65

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Ticker) -- Once again, Iowa put a scare into the nation's top team.

Deron Williams scored 18 points and Dee Brown added 14 as top-ranked Illinois overcame a tough challenge to continue its unbeaten campaign with a 75-65 Big Ten Conference victory over Iowa.

"This was a tough game," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "We expected a tough game. Even when they had teams not quite as good as this one, we always knew it would be a tough game here. They just came back at us. But we never let them take control."

The victory tied Illinois with the 1960-61 Ohio State Buckeyes for the third best start in conference history and extended the country's longest winning streak to 27 and the longest road winning streak to 14.

In their last meeting, the Hawkeyes pushed the Fighting Illini to the brink of defeat before falling, 73-68, in overtime on January 20. It has been the only contest that needed to go past regulation for Illinois (27-0, 13-0 Big Ten).

"I think in both games we did a great job with (Roger) Powell," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "I think that's been key to staying close. When Powell is on top of his game, they are potent."

Powell, who scored a season-high 21 points on 10-of-10 shooting Wednesday against Penn State, entered the game averaging 12 points. He was held to just one attempt in the first half, but made 5-of-6 free throws for seven points. He added just one free throw after the intermission. In the last game against the Hawkeyes, the senior forward shot just 2-of-15 from the field for seven points.

One big difference between this game and the last was the absence of Iowa guard Pierre Pierce, who scored 22 in the previous meeting. Dismissed from the team on February 2 due to burglary charges, Pierce was the team's leading scorer at the time, averaging 17.8 points per game.

The Hawkeyes fell to 1-4 without Pierce.

Closing out the first half with a 19-10 run for a 36-28 lead at intermission, Williams hit two jumpers in the first 56 seconds of the second to extend the lead to 12 points.

Iowa (16-9, 4-8) rallied and cut the deficit to 53-51 on a 3-pointer by Adam Haluska with 9:31 remaining. After Luther Head converted a free throw to give Illinois a six-point lead, Haluska followed with a jumper and Mike Henderson made two from the stripe to cut the lead to 60-58 with 4:46 to play.

Similar to the first half, the Illini broke away with a lengthy run, outscoring the Hawkeyes, 15-7, down the stretch. Brown had seven points and Nick Smith added five during the spurt.

"Dee Brown is a big-time player," Alford said. "With five minutes to go, it was his time."

Williams shot 8-of-16 from the field with two 3-pointers. He also had five assists and three steals for Illinois, which scored 23 points off 21 Iowa turnovers. The Hawkeyes managed just seven points off the 10 giveaways by the Illini.

Haluska scored 20 points along with seven rebounds and Greg Brunner added 15 points and nine boards for the Hawkeyes, who lost despite holding a 36-21 rebounding advantage.

James Augustine had eight rebounds to go along with 13 points for Illinois. No other player had more than three rebounds.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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