No. 10 Illini survive against visiting Hoosiers

Illinois’ Dain Dainja, center, eyes the basket as he gets Indiana’s Anthony Walker (4) and Mackenzie Mgbako off their feet during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024, in Champaign, Ill.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

CHAMPAIGN (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. made six free throws in the final minute to help No. 10 Illinois survive a scare from Indiana 70-62 on Saturday.

Indiana tied the game at 62 with 1:29 left on a basket by Mackenzie Mgbako, but Illinois scored eight straight points, six by Shannon, to pull out the victory.

Marcus Domask led Illinois (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten) with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Luke Goode and Coleman Hawkins each had 11 points.

Malik Reneau, who scored 21 points for Indiana (12-8, 4-5), fouled out with 3:02 left. Xavier Johnson had 14 points and Mgbako had 12 points.

Illinois coach Brad Underwood praised his team for grinding out a victory.

“We went from an eye-pleasing (overtime) loss (Wednesday) to Northwestern, at least for fans, to a very, very ugly win,” he said. “But you have to win these kind of games. You have to find a way and we did.”

The loss is Indiana’s third straight during a tough stretch of games against No. 2 Purdue, then-No. 11 Wisconsin and Illinois.

Indiana played without 7-foot center Ke’el Ware, the Hoosiers’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder, who missed his second straight game with an ankle injury suffered in practice.

Indiana didn’t help itself with Ware sidelined by going 0 of 9 on 3-pointers. It was the first time the Hoosiers didn’t make a 3 in a game in nearly 13 years.

“Other than not making any 3’s and missing free throws, I thought we played a solid game,” said Indiana coach Mike Woodson.

The Hoosiers were 12 of 22 at the free-throw line.

In his third game back after sitting out six games because of a university-imposed suspension, Shannon had 12 points and six rebounds.

Shannon is facing a rape charge in Kansas, but he was granted a preliminary injunction by a federal judge on Jan. 19 that forced Illinois to reinstate him to the team.

Illinois is in third place in the Big Ten, trailing only Wisconsin (8-1) and Purdue (7-2).

BIG PICTURE

Indiana: The Hoosiers were off for seven days following a Jan. 19 loss to Wisconsin. They couldn’t take advantage of an Illinois team that had just two days between games.

Illinois: All eyes were on Shannon once again. He played just eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, but came through in the clutch with his late free throws. He had 16 points and four assists vs. Rutgers and 12 points against Northwestern in his first two post-suspension games.

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING

It was a game of ups and downs for Johnson, one of Indiana’s captains. The injury-plagued point guard scored in double figures, but he was 2 of 7 at the free-throw line and he was slapped with a technical foul at the end of the first half for tossing the ball at Hawkins after making a layup. Johnson suffered a broken foot last season and played just 11 games, and he missed seven games this season with another foot injury.

UP NEXT

Indiana: Hosts Iowa on Tuesday night.

Illinois: Visits Ohio State on Tuesday night.

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