Iowa with another gutty win at home beating Illinois 72-65. The Hawkeeys toughness showing up again in a slug fest victory over Illinois. In fact, this might be one of the toughest teams Fran McCaffery has had here at Iowa. The Hawks using an 11-0 run late in the the second half to pull within a game of the Big Ten lead.
“In order to win in the league, you’ve got to be the tougher team. And that’s against anybody, top to bottom and obviously this team was at the top,” says Luka Garza.” You know, I’m proud of my guys. No matter what, they kept coming at us and we kept coming at them and I think toughness is what allowed us to get this win.”
“Even in practice, we just come every day and we bring it,” says CJ Fredrick “We understand that we’re blessed to have the opportunity to play here and play with each other and be able to wear the Iowa uniform in front of the fans. We don’t take that for granted.”
Joe Wieskamp says, “You can’t be soft about it. You can’t give in to their pressure and turn it over, force bad shots. You’ve got to bring the toughness to them.”
52 (Brad Underwood/Illinois Head Coach) “There’s a lot of ways to be tough. It doesn’t mean you have to play 45-to-50 to be tough,” says Brad Underwood, Illinois Head Coach. “That’s a tough basketball team and they make tough plays. All you’ve got to do is look at their home games here. They’ve won them all. That’s toughness, that’s toughness down the stretch.”
Things got a little bit heated in the handshake line as assistant coaches from both schools had to be separated. Cooler heads did prevail and Fran McCaffery and Brad Underwood said after the game this is just part of the emotion and intensity of Big Ten basketball.