Sports

Illinois beats Iowa State 72-69 to advance to Elite Eight for first time since 2005


Illinois beats Iowa State 72-69 to advance to Elite Eight for first time since 2005 Originally appeared in NBC Sports Chicago

Illinois offense holds lead through first two rounds NCAA Tournament.

The Illini’s defense helped them get to just one win shy of reaching the Final Four.

Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 29 points and Illinois reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005, beating Iowa State 72-69 in the East Regional semifinals Thursday night.

Shannon scored 20 points in the first half for the third-seeded Illini (29-8), who never trailed. Breakthrough dunk He hit two free throws in the final seconds to help Illinois defeat the second-seeded Cyclones (29-8).

“When you face the No. 1 defense, you know they’re not No. 1 because of their weakness or lack of effort,” Illini coach Brad Underwood said. “I also know they’re going to punch or counter, and they Just did it.”

The Illini shot just 42 percent from the field, but they held Iowa State to 39 percent shooting and forced nine turnovers.

Illinois reached the regional finals for the fourth time in the past 40 years and will advance to the Final Four on Saturday against defending champion UConn. beat San Diego State 82-52 in the earlier Eastern Conference semifinals.

Shannon was limited to 29 minutes due to foul trouble, but he was still a workhorse for the Illini. He has not spoken to the media since he was sent off. December charges There were charges of rape or other sexual abuse in an incident in Kansas in September.

The charge resulted in a six-game suspension before a federal judge overturned the ban, ruling that Shannon’s civil rights were violated. Shannon regrets that he is innocent of the charges.

Underwood said Shannon has been consistent throughout the season.

“Anyone who knows Terrence knows what a great competitor he is,” Underwood said. “He’s mentally very good.”

Iowa State’s Curtis Jones scored 26 points and Keshon Gilbert added 14 points to beat Houston for the Big 12 Championship in March Madness.

The Illini have entered their last four games NCAA Tournament under their seventh-year coach, but Underwood didn’t lead them past the first weekend until this year. Coleman Hawkins scored 12 points and was the only Illinois player besides Shannon to score in double figures.

The Illini led 68-64 with less than a minute left before Milan Momchilovic’s turnover passed to Shannon, who broke through for a two-handed dunk with 24 seconds left.

Jones fouled a three-pointer and made all three free throws to chase the score to 70-67, but Shannon calmly made two free throws with 6 seconds left.

“We couldn’t take advantage when they came up,” Iowa State coach TJ Otzelberger said.

The Cyclones struggled offensively in the first half, trailing 36-26 at halftime, but found their touch after halftime. With 9 minutes and 46 seconds left in the game, Gilbert’s floater pulled Iowa State to 51-49.

Gilbert then got a steal, one of 11 for Iowa State, and sprinted for a layup that would have tied the game, but the ball rolled off the rim.

Iowa State later had another chance to tie the game but missed, this time leading to an Illinois layup. Marcus DomaskHe completed a three-pointer and chased the score to 56-51.

A few possessions later, when Iowa State got within three, Domask scored again, hitting a three-pointer to push the Illini lead back to 62-56.

Illinois entered the night with the highest offensive rating in the tournament, but its defense stood out early on.

The Illini’s game plan was to chase the Cyclones from beyond the arc and have them attempt contested shots inside. That worked for much of the first half, as Iowa State’s field goal percentage dropped below 20 percent near the midpoint. The Cyclones also went through a scoring drought for more than five minutes.

“I think the game plan worked, forcing them to take those tough two-pointers, making them take those tough shots,” Hawkins said.

Iowa State boasts the most efficient defense of the tournament and started the game with a steal from Gilbert. But the Cyclones had little sparkle in the opening 20 minutes.

Illinois jumped out to a quick 11-2 lead, and Iowa State was held scoreless for nearly four minutes.

Next

Third-seeded Illinois will face the defending national champion Connecticut Huskies. Illinois and the Huskies will meet for the first time in March Madness on Saturday.

UConn kills San Diego State Game 1 Thursday, 82-52, a rematch of last year’s national championship game fails to provide much drama But an Elite Eight matchup between two of the best offensive teams in the country is sure to be an exciting and entertaining game for fans in Boston.

The game is scheduled for Saturday at 6:09 PM ET | 5:09 PM CT.





Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button