Brandon Paul paced Illinois with 18 points. D.J. Richardson scored 13, Tracy Abrams, Nnanna Egwu and Tyler Griffey each had six.
It was over when: Iowa reeled off an 9-0 run late in the second half. The Illini had pulled to within two points before Josh Oglesby drained two 3-pointers and Roy Devyn Marble connected on a 3-point play to put the game out of reach.
Player of the game: Roy Devyn Marble. The junior guard overcame a slow start, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the field and a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. The seventh straight game leading Iowa in scoring, he added six rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Of note: Iowa had a school-record setting 12 blocks in the game, including six from reserve Gabriel Olaseni.
Stat of the game: Field goal percentage: The Illini managed to hit only 18 of 63 shots (28.6 percent), including missing 15 of 16 shots to start the first half and 11 of 12 shots to start the second. Iowa wasn't great (21 of 54, 38.9 percent), but did enough for the victory.
Stat of the game 2: 3-point shooting. The Illini finished 9 of 29 (26.9 percent) from beyond the arc, with scoring leaders Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson a combined 6 of 18. Iowa didn't fare much better, shooting 5 of 18, but received those two timely triples from Oglesby to take command of a close game down the stretch.
The takeaway: There's no way around it -- this was a bad performance by Illinois, on par with the home loss to Northwestern and loss in Madison to Wisconsin in January. The Illini didn't have it on the offensive end, putting forth an effort defined by missed shots and turnovers. That's always a combo setting up for disaster. The 55 points scored was the lowest total in a game since that loss to the Wildcats and only the third time this season the team has failed to put up more than 56. Despite all that, Illinois was only down two late in the game, still holding a chance to steal one on the road. That, to me, is more indicative of Iowa, who also did not play very well and still has work to do if it hopes to continue playing later in March. Illinois is still in good shape in regard to the NCAA Tournament, but like Coach John Groce likes to say -- taking part in March Madness won't matter much if you're not playing well.