Illini beat last place Iowa to keep NCAA hopes alive

CHAMPAIGN—Mike Tisdale scored 25 points and Illinois kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive with an 81-68 win Saturday over struggling Iowa. Mike Davis added 20 points and nine rebounds. He was often the catalyst for the Illini (18-11, 8-8 Big Ten) on a night when Iowa, for a while, refused to go away.Davis’ short bucket with 12:34 to play gave Illinois a 58-43 lead that was too much for the Hawkeyes (10-18, 3-13).Illinois led 36-31 at halftime and Iowa closed to within 38-35 early on a basket by Bryce Cartwright. But two free throws by Tisdale after Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery drew a technical and Davis’ subsequent basket drained the Hawkeyes.Melsahn Basabe led Iowa with 17 points. Jarryd Cole added 15.

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