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March Madness: Illinois beats Iowa State in second half to advance to Elite Eight


No. 2 Illinois thwarted multiple comeback attempts by Iowa State and advanced to the Elite Eight with a 72-69 win over the No. 2 Cyclones on Thursday night.

Illinois led by 10 points at halftime, and Iowa State quickly cut the lead early in the second half, but Illinois used multiple possessions to regain the lead.

The cycle repeated itself for much of the second half, even with Illinois’ star Terrence Shannon Jr. Nearly five minutes on the bench and four fouls. Shortly after Shannon went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul with 11:17 left, Iowa State twice cut Illinois’ lead to two points. But the Cyclones never tied the game.

Shannon finished with 29 points and intercepted a pass for a dunk with 25 seconds left to give Illinois a fourth lead.

Illinois one win away from Final Four

Illinois will take on the defending national champions University of Connecticut Saturday with a chance to advance to the Final Four from the East Region.

Illinois has not returned to the Final Four since losing to Illinois in 2005. north carolina in the national title game. Heck, Illinois hasn’t even made the Elite Eight since then. In the 18 years since reaching the Final Four, Illinois has lost in the second round five times and been eliminated in the first round three times.

Thursday night’s Sweet 16 game has the potential to be a disappointment as Illinois struggles at the free throw line. Illinois shot just 15 of 29 from the free throw line. A 10-point halftime lead could have been 15 points. Illinois missed nine free throws in the first half.

But when Illinois struggled at the free throw line, it always came up with big plays when Iowa State pressed on in the second half. Coleman Hawkins Early in the second half, when Iowa State threatened, he scored 12 points and hit a three-pointer.

With just over four minutes left in the game, it was Lance Goode’s turn to hit a three-pointer.

But Shannon was once again the star for the Illini. The nation’s third-leading scorer has scored at least 25 points in each of the past seven games. All seven games were won by Illinois.

This is no coincidence. Shannon is one of the best players in the country and a big reason why Illinois’ offense is so good. However, he was given a restraining order to play in the second half of the season.

Shannon was suspended in December after being charged with rape last September for an alleged sexual assault in Lawrence, Kansas.

After the suspension, Shannon filed for a temporary restraining order to stay on the field and force Illinois to reinstate him as a member of the team. The restraining order has been approved After missing six games, Shannon returned to the basketball court on Jan. 21, two days after he returned to the team.

Iowa State’s struggles at the rim

As Illinois struggled to shoot free throws and Iowa State played in the paint like there was a lid on the basket, the Cyclones missed countless shots at the basket, hitting just 17 of 45 shots from inside the three-point line.

The Cyclones also had a rough start. Illinois jumped out to a quick start with Iowa State taking the lead. Curtis Jones He started on the bench after scoring 11 of the team’s first 12 points. Jones scored a Cyclones-high 26 points, while KeShon Gilbert added 14 points.

Iowa State finished the season with a 29-8 record and the school is still seeking its first trip to the Final Four since 1944. The Cyclones haven’t been to the Elite Eight since 2000 and are now 0-4 in the Sweet 16. 24 years later.



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