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Tony Perkins’ big second half leads host Iowa over Illinois

Tony Perkins scored 25 of his game-high 32 points in the second half and Kris Murray followed with 19 points to boost Iowa to an 81-79 victory against visiting Illinois on Saturday afternoon in Iowa City, Iowa.

Iowa (15-8, 7-5 Big Ten) used a 26-for-30 showing from the free-throw line to snap a five-game series losing streak. Perkins led the way by swishing all 15 of his foul shots.

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The Hawkeyes overcame a rebounding deficit of minus-11 to win for the seventh time in nine games overall. Illinois (16-7, 7-5) had a three-game winning streak stopped despite shooting 49.1 percent and placing four scorers in double figures.

Payton Sandfort drilled a 3-pointer following an Iowa offensive rebound to give the hosts a 79-76 advantage with 1:23 to go. The Fighting Illini had zero field goals over the final 2:44

Matthew Mayer led Illinois with 21 points. Dain Dainja had 17 points and nine rebounds, while Jayden Epps (16 points) and Terrence Shannon Jr. (11) were next.

Filip Rebraca added 13 points for the Hawkeyes. Murray had a team-best seven rebounds.

Illinois led 36-35 at halftime, capitalizing on 50 percent shooting that included a 6-for-7 effort from Mayer that produced 15 points. Murray (10 points) was the only other player in double figures at the break. Rebraca and Perkins scored seven apiece.

After a pair of Murray free throws drew the Hawkeyes to within a point, the Fighting Illini scored the next six points over a 3:12 span. Still, Iowa rallied in kind, with Murray hitting a trey in the final second of the first half to close a 6-0 spurt.

Iowa extended the run to 10-0 by scoring the first four points out of the break, but the Hawkeyes relinquished the lead when Illinois answered with the game’s next 11 points.

The last three meetings between the schools have been decided by four points or less.

–Field Level Media

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