Matt Gatens scored 20 points to help Iowa defeat Illinois 64-61 Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament in what might have been the final game for Illini coach Bruce Weber.
Speculation has been that Weber would be fired after the season. The Illini closed the regular season having lost eight of nine, with their only win coming against Iowa.
Illinois nearly saved Weber for at least another day -- D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds that would have tied the score.
Meyers Leonard had 18 points and six rebounds and D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand added 11 points each for Illinois (17-15). Brandon Paul, Illinois' top scorer, finished with four points on 2-for-11 shooting and committed seven turnovers.
Aaron White had 13 points and nine rebounds for eighth-seeded Iowa (17-15), which has won four of its last six and will play No. 1 seed Michigan State on Friday.
Iowa trailed by four at halftime but outrebounded the much bigger Illini 27-17 after...