CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Mike Tisdale scored 18 points and No. 19 Illinois rebounded from its worst offensive showing in more than two decades by hanging on to beat Iowa 62-54 on Sunday.
Held to their lowest point total in 24 years in a 59-36 loss at Minnesota on Thursday, the Fighting Illini barely beat the Big Ten's 10th place team.
A 3-pointer by Jeff Peterson with 18 seconds left pulled Iowa within 58-54, but Tisdale and Mike Davis each hit two free throws as the Illini (18-4, 6-3 Big Ten) sent the Hawkeyes (12-10, 2-7) to their sixth loss in seven games. Illinois is trying to build some momentum for the postseason, and it simply couldn't afford to stumble again after that miserable showing against Minnesota.
Although it was far from a perfect performance, the Fighting Illini got a needed win.
The Illini hit nine of their first 10 shots in the second half to turn a 25-22 deficit into an eight-point lead, with Dominique Keller's three-point play making it 46-38 with 11:39 left, but the Hawkeyes would not go quietly.
They responded by scoring seven straight, but Chester Frazier put back his own missed 3-pointer and Calvin Brock added back-to-back baskets to boost the lead to 52-45, sending the Illini to a much-needed win.