IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Tony Perkins scored 25 of his career-high 32 points in the second half and Iowa edged Illinois 81-79 on Saturday to snap a five-game losing streak to the Fighting Illini.
Perkins shot 8 of 11 from the floor and missed just one of 16 free-throw attempts, all of them coming in the second half. Kris Murray added 19 points and Filip Rebraca 13 for Iowa (15-8, 7-5 Big Ten), which won its third straight and seventh of its last nine.
Matthew Mayer hit four 3-pointers and scored 21 points for Illinois (16-7, 7-5), which had a three-game win streak snapped after coming in having won seven of its last eight. Dain Dainja added 17 points and nine rebounds, Jayden Epps had 14 of his 16 in the second half and Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 11 points.
Payton Sandfort’s 3-pointer snapped a tie with and Murray added a free throw with 29 seconds left. Illinois’ RJ Melendez sank two free throws before Perkins, with 10.1 remaining, made it a three-point edge with a free throw before his only miss from the line. Illinois raced down the floor but Epps was short on a 3-point attempt that Sandfort closed out on. Coleman Hawkins got the offensive rebound and was fouled with 1.1 left. He made the first free throw before his intentional miss on the second attempt was grabbed by Iowa’s Connor McCaffery.
Iowa finished 26 of 30 at the line to 18 of 23 for the Illini, who committed 14 turnovers. Iowa’s 81 points hit the Hawkeyes’ season average against a team giving up 63 a game.
Murray hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer but the Illini led 36-35.
Neither team had a double-digit lead. There were nine lead changes and nine ties.
Illinois hosts Minnesota on Tuesday. Iowa is at top-ranked Purdue on Thursday.